July 25, 2024

Typhoon Egay has caused mass power outage in Baguio and Benguet for days, as it also left over P5.1 million worth of damage to the facilities of the Benguet Electric Cooperative.

The amount of damage is expected to increase as reports from the remote towns of Benguet are still being recorded.

The damage were caused by trees fallen on electricity lines that eventually led poles to either break or collapse as well as transformers that exploded as Egay started battering Northern Luzonon July 25.

Beneco incurred P3.5M worth of damage on poles and power lines and P1.5M worth of damage to its transformers.

Engr. Ramel Rifani, Network Services Department manager, said crew are also working non-stop to provide electricity to as much consumers as possible.

As of July 28, Beneco has restored power to 63.07 percent of consumers in its franchise area with Baguio having the widest coverage of restoration.

Rifani said Beneco was able to restore power to 76 percent of the city’s 129 barangays and 81 percent of consumers as of 8 a.m. of July 27.

In La Trinidad, Benguet, power was restored to 75 percent of the town’s 16 barangays and 92 percent of consumers.

Power is yet to be restored in the remote towns of Benguet, such as Bakun, Kabayan, Kapangan, Kibungan, and Bokod.

Rifani said power restoration in these areas might take timedue to the multiple landslides that rendered these places inaccessible for Beneco personnel.

He however said engineers are deployed to assess the situation in these areas and are continuously monitoring the opening of roads so linemen can be dispatched immediately to restore power in these municipalities.

“We want to restore power as soon as possible. We don’t want to leave these areas with no power for long, but there are factors that make restoration not possible,” Rifani said.

In Baguio City, although most of the areas are accessible, Rifani said power restoration is faced by challenges brought about by fallen trees and the lines of telecommunication companies.

“We want to start work immediately, but sometimes we have to wait for the crew of telcos. We cannot cut their lines on our own, except on emergency cases, because they too, have customers relying on their services,” he said.

Benecorestoration crew are working 24/7 on three shifts. Rifani said to ensure continuous power restoration, linemen who can afford to go on extended shifts are asked to render an eight-hour overtime.

In a release, Beneco said the memorandum issued by the city government authorizing punong barangays to cut live and dead trees that pose immediate danger to the public is expected to help Beneco’s linemen, especially if the trees fell on power cables or transformers.

It said circuit 7 covering Sinipsip, Buguias is yet to be restored.

Requests for repair flooded Beneco’s Consumer Welfare Office at the height of the typhoon that included calls for help on 40 broken poles brought down by fallen trees or caused by soil erosion. A collapsed pole was found at the Mil-an National High School in Loakan Proper, Baguio City which alone cost P677,962.21, so far the highest recorded damaged pole as of the latest report. Poles that carried transformers were also damaged along the Military-Cut-Off rotunda, Gibraltar near Grumpy Joe, Gusaran in Wangal, La Trinidad, Abatan in Buguias, and Rich Gate, Camp 7 in Baguio City.

A collapsed primary pole at Tiptop, Ambuklao Road made nights miserable for consumers residing in the areas covered by feeders 11,12, and 14.

The percentage of consumers whose powers are back are Atok (78 percent), Buguias (19.90 percent), Itogon (10.74 percent), La Trinidad (91.77 percent), Mankayan (62.81 percent), Sablan (7.89 percent), Tuba (2.88 percent), and Tublay 77.05 percent, according to Beneco. – Jane B. Cadalig