Proposed underground electric wires will raise power rates – DOE

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The Department of Energy (DOE) is seriously studying proposals to bury underground electricity cables to prevent power outages during typhoons, but warned this would also likely cause an increase in power rates.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said the proposal should be carefully studied because it will impose additional costs to electric distributors, who would subsequently be forced to pass those costs on to consumers.

Petilla issued the statement after the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said it is “seriously” considering putting electric wires underground after the damage inflicted by Typhoon Glenda caused widespread power outages.

The power outages that hit Metro Manila and nearby provinces were attributed to damaged electric wires and utility posts downed by the typhoon.

Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said power outages are just a usual scenario during calamities since Meralco’s power distribution lines are still overhead.


The DOE chief said that even after Super Typhoon Yolanda, the agency had considered putting electric wires underground.

Nearly all of the electric posts and wires were downed in areas affected by Yolanda, which resulted in extended blackouts in many parts of the Visayas.

Although the proposal is valid and reasonable, Petilla said it should be studied very carefully as several things should be first considered, such as the installation cost.

He said the cost of putting electricity wires underground is at least five times higher than conventional overhead installation, and the added costs will be charged to the consumers.

“It actually costs like concreting roads, because with the installation [of underground power lines]you have things such as anti-flooding systems and pump systems, which are expensive and they are more difficult to maintain,” he added.

However, Petilla said since the county is vulnerable to calamities as it is being visited by more typhoons every year, it is a must to seriously consider the proposal.

“That is what we are studying right now, the cost implication of the proposal,” he added.

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7 Comments

  1. A very wise man called Albert Einstein-Is reputed to have said “If an individual,or group, do exactly the same thing -in exactly the same way…expecting different results This is a f0rm of Madness.

    We are about to experience two tropical storms –The Electric company are doing nothing more than the “same old -same old.”!

    Do they expect a different outcome ….According to Einstein–This is madness !.

    What do you think ?

    David Meyer {PhD pysch]

  2. Peter Gonzales on

    Power industry in the Philippines should be in the hands of Filipinos and should be nationalized.

  3. it should not necessarily increase the rates. low voltage distribution lines (240 V ~ 13.8 KV) can be laid underground while the high voltage ones (69 KV & up) remain above ground. cables for communication, video, TV, data, etc… should also be laid underground, while the distribution equipment, terminals, boxes can be installed above ground to avoid being submerged in water during floods. this will ensure that communication lines during typhoons will be available. initial investment may be substantial but it will balance out with expensive repairs and loss revenue from the aftermath of a destructive typhoon.

    the companies running the utilities (electricity, communications, TV, video) are getting hefty profits anyways. it is time to share their blessings with their consumers through excellent and uninterrupted services.

  4. Petilla thinks all the costs can be passed on to consumers just like that. All it takes is an act of congress to stop the practice. Subscribers do not even own shares in the utility companies and they are expected to carry the burden of the costs so that shareholders can reap more profits? How sick is that Philippines?

  5. Let us (and MVP) be reminded that there are telecom and cable TV lines up in the poles, too.

    I urge everybody to Google “when did manhattan bury its power lines” and read a few of those articles.

  6. David M Meyer on

    Marvelous!
    Our glorious Electric company , does not need any excuses to raise the rates ….

    I recall a few years ago they gave us a few cents relief per kilowatt—Then a few months later they put the rates up — Not by cents per kilowatt , but by peso’s..

    My family and I went to laguna for a two weeks vacation —

    When we came back the bill was the same …Maybe we have ghosts who were sung the electric

    I for one, don’t expect this company to do the right thing….

    They don’t have to.!

    They are the only kids on the block who sell power…Even the government is “Powerless” to intervene (No pun intended}

    so us poor mugs, get slugged , year after year –with a service that is –Lets call a spade a spade–Substandard!

    Its a case of the rich get richer –The poor get kids!

    I remain
    yours Faithfully
    David M Meyer

  7. Diosdado Casera on

    As strong typhoons continue, the economic losses to be incurred by the country would mount year after year. It may cost a lot in burying our electric wires in the installation phase but the maintenance would be a lot cheaper, aside from making our communities more cleaner to look at. Therefore, the government should subsidize our electric cooperatives in burying our electric wires. It,s been done in other countries, why cant we do it here. It is time.