MANILA, Philippines — The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has directed distribution companies to give their customers in areas ravaged by Typhoon Odette ample time in settling their electric bills.
This is to help the typhoon victims recover from the effects of Odette’s devastation.
ERC Commissioner Floresinda Baldo-Digal said this includes relaxing disconnection notices to those who may not be able to pay on time at least within the next two months.
“Makakasama na ‘yan diyan yung hindi muna sila magdi-disconnect agad-agad dahil hindi mababayaran yung bayarin ngayong Disyembre at hanggang Enero,” Digal said.
“So, sa pag-iimplementa, sila na ang maaaring magbigay ng detalye niyan sa kanilang consumer. Pero basically that will be relaxation of the disconnection policy and at the same time, yung payment na hindi mababayaran on time, bayaran in a later time without penalty and interest,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Department of Energy is expecting that more areas in the ravaged regions will be energized over the weekend.
Energy Undersecretary Wimpy Fuentebella said over 1,400 personnel from the power sector have been deployed in various parts of the typhoon-hit areas for restoration efforts.
“Magkakaroon sila ng energization doon through island operation utilizing internal yung mga embedded power generators doon by December 31,” he said.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said they have restored 82% of the affected transmission lines.
However, restoring the lines in Bohol remains a challenge as two special towers interconnecting the province and Leyte were toppled.
Randy Galang, head of the NGCP Engineering Project Management Department, explained that the bulk of the generation supply in Bohol comes from the main grid in the Leyte area.
“Right now, ongoing po yung pag-aaral kung ano ang pinakamahusay na paraan para mapalitan itong mga towers na ‘to at makumpuni natin yung transmission service ng NGCP,” Galang said.
The National Electrification Administration (NEA) also reported that over 1 million of the 3 million affected households from downed electric cooperatives have been energized.
“As we speak, we have energized some little more than 1.01 million, so it’s about 30%. And we have a remaining of around 2.5 million to be energized as far as households are concerned,” said Butch Silvano of NEA’s Total Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Department.
The NGCP, meanwhile, said 17 transmission lines in five areas that were heavily battered by Typhoon Odette are still for restoration. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)