The country’s power sector is faced with a gargantuan mission of assuring that power supply remains available and stable as the government and private sector begin rolling out its massive Covid-19 vaccination program.
In February, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a circular directing all power industry stakeholders to ensure not just reliable and stable power supply, but to also put in place the necessary emergency response protocols and contingency plans in cases of power outages.
In the National Capital Region, power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has begun easing off pressure through its massive network rehabilitation and upgrade program to meet the projected demand for ample and stable power supply from Covid-19 vaccine cold storage facilities and vaccination centers.
Task Force set up for Covid-19
As early as January, Meralco already created a task force that will ensure the safe, adequate, and reliable power supply to Covid-19 vaccine storage facilities and vaccination centers within its franchise area.
At present, the Meralco task force has already initiated thorough inspection of distribution facilities from source substations down to load-end of confirmed Covid-19 vaccine storage facilities and vaccination centers to address potential causes of forced outage. Likewise, contingency plans are well in place to accelerate power restoration should unforeseen interruptions inevitably occur.
As of March 17, 2021, Meralco is monitoring 304 facilities, consisting of 101 vaccine cold storage facilities, and 203 vaccination centers. Included among these storage facilities is MetroPac Movers Inc., where 600,000 doses of Sinovac and 464,000 doses of AstraZeneca were delivered last February 28, 2021 and March 4, 2021, respectively.
The following healthcare facilities initially identified as vaccination centers are also being monitored: Lung Center of the Philippines, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, Philippine General Hospital, Rizal Medical Center, Philippine National Police General Hospital and Pasay City General Hospital.
Meralco Senior Vice President and Head of Networks Engr. Ronnie L. Aperocho assured customers that services are full-on 24/7, without fail. “During these challenging times, Meralco remains always ready and will continue working with the energy sector to ensure that electric power remains uninterrupted, especially in health centers and vaccination storage facilities. We are implementing all possible measures to distribute power round the clock, especially to crucial installations such as hospitals,” Aperocho said.
Continuous powering up of Covid-19 Facilities
Since the onset of the global pandemic, Meralco has played a critical part in ensuring and providing ample and reliable power supply to critical Covid-19 treatment and quarantine centers in its franchise area.
Meralco crews have continuously worked round the clock to upgrade the Company’s distribution network facilities.
To date, Meralco has energized more than 90 Covid-19 facilities that include government agencies, public and private hospitals, testing laboratories, and treatment and quarantine centers. These energization works include the installation of new distribution transformers, concrete poles, and metering facilities. Energizing these critical installations has been on top of Meralco’s priority projects as it continues its relentless support to the government and private sector in the fight against Covid-19.
Atty. Ray C. Espinosa, Meralco President and CEO, underscored Meralco’s efforts and stated, “Going beyond the power and light we deliver, this current crisis calls for us to be beacons of reliability and hope. We are keeping the lights on for our front liners and affected Filipinos, and we are one with the government in overcoming this crisis.”