FICELCO strives to power remaining 13,000 homes
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With all of the repair crews from other electric cooperatives having left after helping in the restoration of electric service to most of Catanduanes, the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) is now focusing its entire force of linemen on lighting up the remaining 13,000 homes in nine towns.

According to the latest report issued by FICELCO officer-in-charge Peter Amaro, the cooperative has restored power to 36,054 households as of Jan. 31, or 72.79% of the 49,531 affected by typhoon Nina late last year. The entire town of Caramoran, with 4,485 homes, has been re-energized along with all but 7 of Pandan’s 3,341, it added.

Of Bagamanoc’s 2,049 homes, only 200 remain unlighted while in Viga (3,739) and Panganiban (1,943), there were only 220 and 316 households, respectively, still without electricity.

Sizeable numbers of houses remain off the grid in Gigmoto, with only 87 out of 1,480 homes with power, and Baras, where just 630 of 2,646 homes have been connected to power lines. Still to be restored are 4,512 house connections in San Andres, 1,493 in Bato, 814 in San Miguel, 2,507 in Virac.

In terms of barangays, FICELCO repair crews have restored power in 214 of the 315 barangays (67.94%), with majority in San Andres (24 barangays), Baras (22), and Virac (20).

A partial report on the damages inflicted on the distribution lines show that 1,379 poles were damaged while 148 others were leaning, with the typhoon damaging 107 distribution power transformers. The partial cost of damage has so far been pegged at P53,869,668.22, still considerable less than the P80 million calamity loan secured by the FICELCO board of directors from the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

All three hydroelectric power plants, as well as the four diesel power plants are operational, the same report stated.

Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has commended eight electric cooperatives and a private power company for their assistance in helping restore electric service to most parts of the province after typhoon Nina felled power lines last Christmas day.

In separate resolutions sponsored by Provincial Board Member Natalio Popa Jr. and approved unanimously by the board led by Vice Governor Shirley Abundo, the legislative body recognized the selfless dedication and devotion to duty of the power firms whose assistance was sought by FICELCO through NEA’s “Task Force Kapatid”.

The recipients of the commendation were Pangasinan III Electric Cooperative, Inc. (PANELCO III), Pangasinan I Electric Cooperative I, Inc. (PANELCO I), Ticao Island Electric Cooperative, Inc. (TIELCO), Sorsogon I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SORECO II), Sorsogon I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SORECO II), Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ISECO), Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (INECO), Central Pangasinan Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CENPECO) and Manila Electric Company, Inc. (MERALCO).

In what the SP said was a gesture of grateful recognition and wholehearted commendation of their men, the measures stated that the repair crews sent by the eight cooperatives and the giant power company worked unhampered by unrelenting rains and beyond their limits, notwithstanding their loneliness for being away from home and families during the rest of the holiday season.

In a related development, the FICELCO Board of Directors has reportedly approved a P3,000.00 “reward” for every member of the repair crews sent by the eight co-ops and MERALCO as a token of appreciation for their role in the power restoration effort. The remaining teams are set to leave the island Tuesday.

There was no mention of a similar “gift” for FICELCO linemen who will be left to complete the rehabilitation of distribution lines, although the board had approved a P5,000 calamity assistance for every employee just after typhoon Nina.

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