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Meralco supports Bicol restoration efforts

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In every case of disaster recovery, among the most crucial to be restored is power.

Coming immediately at the heels of super typhoon “Rolly,” the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has helped hasten power service restoration in areas hardest hit: Albay, Catanduanes and parts of Camarines Sur in the Bicol region, deploying 206 engineers, linemen and support personnel.

Under the stewardship of Meralco President and CEO Ray C. Espinosa, the country’s largest power distribution utility deployed its linemen crews to aid in the restoration efforts in areas affected by the super typhoon. Meralco personnel will support the National Grid Corporation and various electric cooperatives in its restoration efforts throughout the Bicol region.

Meralco is also closely coordinating with the Department of Energy, National Electrification Administration and the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (Philreca).

With many electrical and transmission facilities toppled over by the super typhoon’s strong winds, the Bicol region’s distribution utilities and electric cooperatives would be incapable of immediately restoring power. But, as of 4 November, it was announced that the electric service of affected customers in the Bicol region by the super typhoon was slowly being restored.

 

“Rolly,” a Category-5 howler, is considered the world’s strongest so far this year. It battered the southern parts of Luzon while still reeling from the catastrophe brought by typhoon “Quinta.”

With the leadership of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the necessary preparations were set even before the super typhoon made landfall and the agency was able to save millions of lives from its onslaught.

Meralco has expressed its commitment to respond to power outages even outside its franchise area, helping Bicol get back on its feet. Natural calamities, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, did not perturb Meralco from providing much needed assistance.

“Our support to Bicol which is outside of our franchise area is part of our commitment to help our countrymen, especially those in need,” said Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga to the Daily Tribune.

“Meralco crews will continue to finish their task to help energize Bicol back,” he added.

Battling “Ulysses” in the homefront
Super typhoon “Ulysses” battered Meralco’s franchise area starting Wednesday evening. This, as it put in place necessary measures to mitigate the possible impact of the super howler.

Meralco consistently issued advisories on the appropriate precautionary measures to take before a typhoon, including requests for billboard owners and operators to temporarily roll up their billboards as they can result in power outages if they accidentally fall on electrical facilities due to strong winds.

Meralco also provides consumer safety tips on using electrical devices and appliances in case of flooding.

This year being profuse with natural calamities, Meralco has worked round-the-clock from the Taal crisis to “Ulysses” onslaught.

Aside from its power restoration and relief efforts, the company’s social development arm, One Meralco Foundation (OMF), deployed its solar-powered mobile charging stations at evacuation centers in Alfonso, Cavite, where around 3,000 families took shelter.

COVID-19 has also brought out the company’s bayanihan spirit as Meralco also undertook measures, such as through the electrification of COVID-19 facilities nationwide, to help in the country’s recovery.

Meralco and OMF’s most recent relief efforts were seen, among others, in Albay, after typhoon “Tisoy” toppled electric poles and transmission lines in the province last year.

Meralco has been at the forefront of various power restoration efforts even beyond its franchise area: Davao, when Meralco crossed boundaries and reached out to the desolate towns of Cateel and Boston after typhoon “Pablo,” aside from immediately responding to the need for food, drinking water and medicine of the over 3,000 families afflicted by the typhoon, 38 Meralco linemen joined forces with the Davao Oriental Electric Cooperative in restoring power to these areas; and major portions of the Visayas in the aftermath of “Yolanda”; and Batanes when typhoon “Ferdie” hit in 2016. Such is in the DNA of a 117-year-old company whose contribution to national welfare is unparalleled.

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