Power expected to be back in parts of Leyte, Bohol today

Posted on July 12, 2017

DELIVERY of power to most of Leyte, Samar and Bohol are expected to resume on Wednesday afternoon at the earliest as three geothermal power generation units are ready dispatch up to 129.5 megawatts (MW) after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit the area on July 6, the Department of Energy (DoE) said yesterday.

“We are looking at afternoon tomorrow (Wednesday), at the earliest,” said Energy Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella in a press conference on Tuesday at the DoE headquarters in Taguig City.

He said all 11 electric cooperatives in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas), which covers the Samar and Leyte provinces, and three distribution utilities in the island province of Bohol were ready to receive power.

The Lopez-led Energy Development Corp. (EDC), the operator of the geothermal power plants, had been conducting technical tests on the repaired central switching station in coordination with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to ensure the safe operation of the facilities.

Mr. Fuentebella said once all precautionary measures have been taken, EDC would submit test results by late afternoon Tuesday. He said the company advised that it would take them about 16 to 18 hours to start up ahead of power delivery.

The three power plants are: Upper Mahio Geothermal Power Plant Units 2 and 3 with a 26-megawatt (MW) capacity each, and the Malitbog Unit 1 with 77.5 MW.

“Five days after the quake, we are hoping to start the geothermal power plants and might soon bring back power to major parts of Leyte and Bohol,” said Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi in a statement.

However, Mr. Fuentebella clarified that 290 MW is still required -- Samar and Leyte need 290 MW at peak hour, while Bohol needs 80 MW.

Mr. Fuentebella said the EDC’s restoration target is 317 MW by July 16.

In the meantime, EDC has distributed generator sets to vital town installations, such as local government centers, water pumping stations, and hospitals, among others.

The Department of Energy is also in talks with alternative power providers, such as Trans Asia, to mobilize power barges to be brought to Leyte and Bohol.

Meanwhile, infrastructure damages from the 6.5-magnitude earthquake that struck Leyte July 7 has reached P61.64 million based on assessment as of Tuesday morning, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported.

For relief operations, around P4.55 million worth of assistance -- P3.24 million from the Department of Social Welfare and Development and P1.31 million from the Department of Health -- have already been extended to 1,173 families or 6,020 persons affected in 15 barangays, based on yesterday’s reports.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), for its part, recorded a total of 796 aftershocks as of 12 noon yesterday. -- Victor V. Saulon and Jil Danielle M. Caro