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Cebuanos show ‘bayanihan’ spirit, help in restoring power in badly hit Cebu subdivision

Ebatech Linemen
Linemen from Ebatech Corporation help in pole dressing and stringing at Royale Cebu Estates subdivision, one of the worst-hit areas by super typhoon Odette in Consolacion town, northern Cebu. (photo courtesy of Royale Cebu Estates Homeowners Association)

Private homeowners in the northern Cebu municipality of Consolacion have stepped in to help AboitizPower subsidiary Visayan Electric Co. (Visayan Electric) in restoring power at Royale Cebu Estates Subdivision, one of the areas in the north badly hit by Typhoon Odette.

Although they are not contractors of Visayan Electric, private engineering companies BNR Construction and Ebatech Corporation have offered their manpower and equipment to assist Visayan Electric in the restoration works in the subdivision, which is home to over a hundred households.

Roger Hsia, president of BNR Construction, said his company lent its backhoe, crane, trucks, and workers to help in clearing roads, extracting fallen poles, digging holes, transporting new poles, and erecting these new electrical posts.

“The widespread damage has made restoration efforts more challenging and demanded extensive work for Visayan Electric and its linemen,” he said.

Although the company has no competency in power restoration, it is working hand in hand with Visayan Electric to augment the teams working on the ground.

Upon the request of the distribution utility, he said they readily offered help, considering the large-scale destruction that the typhoon has caused on Cebu’s power sector. The huge requirement for manpower and equipment in the power restoration process has inspired private firms to offer whatever help they can extend.

In Royale Cebu Estates alone, a total of 56 electrical posts or 80 percent of the poles in the area were downed and damaged, adding to the extent of network damage that linemen have been working to address in various areas across Metro Cebu.

Veteran broadcaster Leo Lastimosa, president of the homeowners association, said their private subdivision, located in Barangay Casili, is among the worst-hit areas in the municipality as assessed by the utility. The most challenging types of repairs are expected to be tackled last in Visayan Electric’s re-energization priority list, he noted.

Knowing this and staying true to their mandate, the homeowners association determined what they had to do and asked Visayan Electric if they could do initial restoration works with the guidance of utility personnel while waiting for their turn to be re-energized.

“Luckily, Visayan Electric consented and sent personnel to guide us. We’d like to thank Visayan Electric for hearing our plea,” Lastimosa said.

He said that some households will be re-energized in the days to come, especially those near the main line after Visayan Electric powers up water tanks in the subdivision within the week.

Ernie Abunda, president and general manager of Ebatech Corporation, also came in to help in power restoration works at their subdivision.

Ebatech, a company engaged in the installation, testing, and commissioning of electrical facilities, has lent its own linemen to help in pole dressing and stringing.

“This is the best time to help our community. We are doing this to help restore the power supply in our neighborhood,” Abunda said.

Aside from its 15 linemen, support teams, and drivers, Ebatech also offered its equipment such as boom trucks as well as 10-wheeler and six-wheeler trucks in transporting and lifting electrical posts.

Citing that they have made progress in their restoration works, Abunda is optimistic that electricity supply will soon be restored in their area through their concerted efforts.

Since the aftermath of the typhoon in mid-December last year, 250 linemen from private distribution utilities from other parts of the country and even those affiliated with AboitizPower have come to Cebu to help restore the electricity supply in the province. Visayan Electric recently bought nine bucket trucks to add to its fleet of specialized equipment and is arranging for an additional 30 linemen and five bucket trucks to come in.

These private companies came in solidarity to bring back much-needed power in Visayan Electric’s 474,182 affected customers.

About Visayan Electric

Visayan Electric Company Inc. is the second-largest electric utility in the Philippines. It serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga, and four municipalities of the greater part of Metro Cebu – Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla, and San Fernando. Its franchise service covers an area of about 674 square kilometers with an estimated population of 1.73 million.

Visayan Electric utilizes various state-of-the-art technologies in its operations to improve its efficiency and service. It uses a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system to monitor and control its electric distribution assets via remote control. It also has a GIS (Geographic Information System) to map and manage its facilities.

Visayan Electric is owned and managed by publicly-listed Aboitiz Power Corporation (PSE: AP) and Vivant Corporation. Approximately 800 individual shareholders comprise the Visayan Electric shareholders’ roster.

About AboitizPower

AboitizPower is the holding company for the Aboitiz Group’s investments in power generation, distribution, and retail electricity services. It advances business and communities by providing reliable and ample power supply at a reasonable and competitive price, and with the least adverse effects on the environment and host communities.

The company is one of the largest power producers in the Philippines with a balanced portfolio of assets located across the country. It is a major producer of Cleanergy, the company’s brand for clean and renewable energy with several hydroelectric, geothermal, and solar power generation facilities. It also has thermal power plants in its generation portfolio to support the country’s baseload and peak energy demands.

The company also owns distribution utilities that operate in high-growth areas in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, including the country’s second and third largest private utilities.

AboitizPower, together with its partners, is the Philippines’ largest owner and operator of renewable energy based on installed capacity. In the next 10 years, the company will significantly expand its Cleanergy portfolio, in support of the government’s efforts to promote renewable energy in the country. AboitizPower will build an additional 3,700 MW of renewable energy, growing its existing Cleanergy capacity threefold by 2030.

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