MANILA – Aboitiz Power Corporation distribution utility subsidiary, Visayan Electric Company (Visayan Electric), is targeting to have 80 percent restoration of power to customers in almost all urbanized areas within its franchise by January 10 next year, with the hardest to reach areas to get energized by the end of the same month. 
 
It is also targeting 100 percent completion of hospitals and 80 percent of water pumping stations by December 31. 
 
The country’s second-largest distribution unit said it is optimistic that re-energization will reach 30 percent by New Year’s eve. 
 
As of Monday noon, some 21 percent or 98,321 of the 474,182 affected customers in its franchise service area were already reenergized.
 
This forecast is based on current damage assessments to its network and the number of linemen or crews working on the ground. The situation is dynamic and these targets may change as more information is made available and more progress is made, the company said.
 
Typhoon Odette, the most devastating to hit the city in the last 30 years, took down 560 power poles according to an initial survey by the company. 
 
As of Monday, Visayan Electric has restored 53 percent or 288 out of 544 power line segments ranging from 23 kilovolts (kV) to 69kV, and 18 out of 19 substations.
 
Visayan Electric has an extensive network throughout its franchise area –covering the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga, and four municipalities of the greater part of Metro Cebu including Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla, and San Fernando– with around 8,990 kilometers of wires. 
 
When stretched end to end, this is enough to span four times the length of the Philippines, or from Aparri to General Santos City and back twice over. 
 
Visayan Electric president and chief operating officer Raul Lucero said repair and restoration of electricity supply is made more challenging by various factors that are involved during the power restoration process. 
 
“Debris from fallen structures and trees hamper the mobility of our trucks and linemen. Broken or leaning poles from Visayan Electric are difficult to repair and take many hours to replace,” he said, adding it takes many more hours to reconnect lines to these poles and to test that these new lines work.
 
“Compound all of these tasks together, and multiply that by the hundreds of downed trees, poles and lines around the city, you will begin to get an idea of the size and scale of the work ahead of our linemen and crews,” Lucero said.
 
He, however, assured that before the year ends, the company expects a total of 182 linemen to augment the 308 Visayan Electric linemen working on the ground. 
 
Distribution utilities and electric cooperatives that have sent their teams of linemen to Cebu are Meralco, Cepalco (Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company Inc.), San Fernando Electric, Angeles Electric, Dagupan Electric, Tarlac Electric, and Iligan Light. They have been working 24/7 since Typhoon Odette hit to bring power back swiftly to its affected areas.
 
The company earlier announced that it was prioritizing hospitals, water pumps, telecommunications, and gas stations. 
 
To date, it has reenergized 26 of 32 hospitals (81 percent); 49 of 119 Metro Cebu Water District pumping stations (41 percent); and eight of 22 Abejo Water Corp. pumping stations (36 percent). (PR)