Part of the P6.5 billion needed to restore electricity in the areas ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda will have to be shouldered by the consumers.
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said on Monday the cost of bringing back the power in the areas hard hit by the typhoon has ballooned to P6.5 billion, from the Department of Energy’s initial estimate of P2 billion.
Petilla said to raise funds for the power restoration, the government must maximize all the discounts that it could get from insurance companies, but the rest will 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.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said on Monday it could soon restore the power in Western Visayas.
The NGCP said it has completed repaired the Dingle-Panit-an 138-kilovolt (kV) transmission line located at the North East part of Panay Island.
The line, according to NGCP, was cut after five transmission towers were damaged by Yolanda’s fierce winds.
Capiz can now tap electricity from the power plants in the Visayas grid. For the past three weeks, Capiz had been isolated from the grid, relying on the power produced by Enervantage Diesel Power Plant in Capiz. The transmission backbone serves Capiz, Aklan and Northern part of Antique.
More than 2,000 transmission structures, including towers and poles, were either toppled or broken, in the whole Visayas.
Petilla, who leads a task force to create a comprehensive rehabilitation plan for Visayas, said P130 billion is needed for the reconstruction effort.
He said he is not a hundred percent sure where to get the 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.
MADELAINE B. MIRAFLOR