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Meralco urged to enlist LGUs in restoring power in typhoon-hit areas

To hasten the restoration of electricity in areas ravaged by Typhoon “Glenda”, a veteran lawmaker advised concerned power distributors to enlist the support of local government units or LGUs.


Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian issued the appeal amid reports that most of Calabarzon and Bicol regions still have no electricity after the fierce typhoon barreled Luzon.


Gatchalian called on Manila Electric Company or Meralco and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines or NGCP to help address the woes of those directly hit by the typhoon.


“I urge the governors and mayors of Southern Luzon to make the initiative of talking to Meralco and the NGCP and ask the two power entities what help they can give to make faster the restoration of electricity in their areas,” Gatchalian said.


“In fact, the LGUs can help Meralco and NGCP identify the areas where there is still no electricity and through their joint effort, power can be restored faster that earlier projected by the Department of Energy,” he noted.


Gatchalian, a member for the House Committee on Local Government, said LGUs have their own heavy equipment and personnel that can help Meralco and NGCP to fix toppled transmission lines.


“Electricity is very vital in this digital age [wherein] social media and cellular phones are the easiest way of getting information especially in times of calamities and disaster,” Gatchalian said.


“Our problem is compounded if we do not receive up-to-date information on typhoon and other calamities because there is no electricity to power our computers and cellular phones,” he added.


At the same time, Gatchalian also urged LGUs to maximize the benefits of Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards or NOAH program.


“LGUs should learn how to use and integrate data from the NOAH program effectively into their own disaster risk and reduction plan. It’s a tool to prepare their constituents for typhoons. There is no excuse to be caught off guard,” Gatchalian said.


“The national government, on the other hand, should continue to improve the program and support it by ensuring the Department of Science and Technology has a sufficient annual budget,” he added.


The NOAH program is tasked to set up high-resolution hazard maps to be used by LGUs as well as to deliver timely and accurate hazard information, among others.


Earlier, the National Electrification Administration or NEA had reported that about 9 million people in Southern Luzon and portions of the Visayas lost power due to Typhoon “Glenda”.


About 4.5 million people suffered power outages in Metro Manila and nearby provinces that are considered as franchise areas of Meralco like Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon.


Other franchise areas include Binangonan, Morong, Tanay, Pililia, and Jala-jala towns in Rizal province.


Meralco confirmed earlier reports that the transmission lines of NGCP in the southern Luzon grid was down.

Due to the outages of vital NGCP transmission lines, generation plants in the south are unable to deliver power to Meralco, the country’s largest distribution utility. (R Burgos)