Power restoration to hit P6.5B

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While it’s already clear that the power restoration cost in areas devastated by Super
Typhoon Yolanda could be as high as P6.5 billion, the national government is still scrambling to raise this amount, including the entire P130-billion rehabilitation cost for Eastern Visayas.

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Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said on Monday that the overall cost needed to bring back power in hard-hit areas has ballooned to P6.5 billion, from the Department of Energy’s initial estimate of P2 billion.

Petilla reiterated that in order to fund this, the government should maximize all the discounts that it could get from insurance companies but the rest will still be passed on to consumers, given the prolonged uncertainty on the usage of Malampaya funds.

“For anything that could not be covered by the national government, there’s no other choice but to charge it to consumers but by an ERC [Energy Regulatory Commission] application,” he said.

Meanwhile, the country’s power grid operator said on Monday that it could soon restore the power in western part of Visayas, which was also badly hit by the super typhoon.

National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said it already completed the restoration of Dingle-Panit-an 138-kilovolt (kV) transmission line located at the North East part of Panay Island.

The line, according to NGCP, suffered five toppled towers among more than 400 structures damaged by Yolanda on Panay Island alone.

With this development, Capiz can now source their electricity requirements from the power plants in the Visayas grid. For the past three weeks, Capiz was isolated from the grid, only relying on the power produced by Enervantage Diesel Power Plant in Capiz. The said transmission backbone serves Capiz, Aklan and Northern part of Antique.

In total, more than 2,000 transmission structures, including towers and poles, were either toppled or broken, in the whole Visayas area.

P130-rehab cost for Visayas
Regarding the P130-billion rehabilitation cost for the typhoon-hit areas, Petilla, who also leads a task force formed to create a comprehensive rehabilitation plan for Visayas, said the government is still not a hundred percent sure where to get this amount.

“It will be tough [to raise the P130 billion]. But we have to find this because this is what’s needed,” he said, indicating that such amount should be utilized in a span of a long time, thus, doesn’t have to be produced in a snap.

He cited, however, that it could tap some government funds as well as donations and pledges from various government agencies and nongovernment organizations.

It was reported few days ago that about P130 billion is needed to rehabilitate the typhoon-hit areas in Visayas and according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the amount could be raised through concessional loans, country’s 2014 budget, lawmakers’ unused pork barrel, as well as leftover from the 2013 budget.

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