Restoring power in areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda will cost a staggering P2 billion, according to Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla.
But the bad news does not end there. Because the cost of reconstruction and rehabilitation is huge, the government will have no other choice but to pass a chunk of that amount to power consumers.
Petilla said that P1 billion will be needed for the rehabilitation of transmission lines in Eastern Visayas. The same amount will be needed to normalize power distribution.
“Walang choice kundi ipasa sa tao [there’s no choice but to pass it on to consumers],” Petilla told reporters.
He said that government had planned to tap the Malampaya funds in the restoration of power in disaster areas to spare power consumers the burden of paying higher electricity rates. However, with the ruling of the Supreme Court that the gas funds can only be used for the development, exploitation and exploration of energy resources, the government may no longer have the option of using the Malampaya funds to restore power distribution in typhoon-hit provinces.
“I said we’ll look into using the Malampaya fund especially for NGCP’s [National Grid Corp.] restoration [activities]because 70 percent of total cost is covered by insurance and 30 percent will be passed on to customers,” he said, pointing out that Malampaya fund doesn’t cover transmission and distribution lines.
The Department of Energy urged power consumers in Luzon to conserve energy because the supply that will be saved in the region will be sent to Visayas.
“Ang excess sa Luzon, sa Visayas itatapon [the excess power in Luzon will be sent to Visayas],” Petilla explained.