BAGUIO CITY – The Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) suffered more than P30 million worth of damages to its distribution lines and other units of equipment within its franchise area during the onslaught of Tropical Cyclone Ompong over two weeks ago.
BENECO Network Services Department Manager Engr. Melchor Licoben said power in most of the rural electric cooperative’s franchise area had been restored while a good number of its contractors and personnel are in the remote villages of Bakun, Kabayan and Atok restoring power in the said places following the recent opening of the access roads leading to the said places.
He added that power in the city’s 128 barangays have been restored as of Wednesday while power in the remote villages of Benguet that have been previously isolated will be restored the soonest or as soon as their power restoration teams have reached the isolated areas and assessed the damages suffered by the cooperative’s distribution lines and other units of equipment.
“Our contractors and our technical personnel continue to work round the clock because we want our consumers to have power the soonest after being struck by the worst weather disturbance that ever prevailed upon our area. We appeal for utmost understanding from our consumers who do not yet have power because we are doing our best to restore our heavily-damaged distribution lines and units of equipment,” Licoben stressed.
The BENECO official claimed that the report on damages suffered by the cooperative from the wrath of the weather disturbance will be forwarded to the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the energy department to allow the power distribution company to avail of assistance from the government to defray the expenses incurred in the restoration of power to the growing number of consumers.
According to him, BENECO deployed over 200 hundred personnel and contractors at the height of the tropical cyclone to work on the initial damages suffered by its distribution lines and units of equipment and poles working round the clock just to make sure that power in the least affected areas and the city’s central business district area is restored the earliest possible time without compromising the efforts in restoring power to other areas within its franchise area.
He underscored that BENECO personnel and contractors strictly adhered to the established protocol in the restoration of power to its consumers wherein the priority to be worked on were the backbone lines leading to the various feeders in Baguio and Benguet before working on the secondary lines and service drops leading to residential and commercial areas in Baguio and Benguet.
Licoben explained the cooperative was compelled to shutoff power to all its consumers after the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) decided to shutoff power from its transmission lines at the height of the weather disturbance to lessen the exposure of its consumers from the dangers posed by live wires disconnected from poles aside from live wires that have touched ground due to fallen poles.