MODERN-DAY HEROES. Visayan Electric Co. linemen work on a pole damaged by Typhoon Odette. Since the middle of December 2021, linemen organic to the company and from other distribution utilities across the country have been working 24/7 to restore power to the company’s franchise area. (Photo courtesy of Veco)

CEBU CITY – AboitizPower subsidiary Visayan Electric Co. (Veco) is furthering its power restoration works in Metro Cebu after it breached its 80-percent reenergization target, with additional manpower and equipment pouring in.

Veco president and chief operating officer Raul Lucero on Friday announced that the power distributor has restored electricity supply to at least 80 percent of customers within its franchise area. As of noon Friday, it has re-electrified 394,400 out of its 474,182 affected customers.

“We recorded energy demand at 345.3 MW, which is 88 percent that of the pre-"Odette" power consumption of 495 MW. It is encouraging to see that power is flowing back into the cities and municipalities that we serve,” Lucero said in a statement.

With this achievement, Veco is now turning its attention to address pockets within the city that still do not have power, and to expand repair work toward the outskirts of its franchise.

“We have been getting more help as we progress in our restoration efforts. Twenty linemen from MORE Power, Iloilo City’s electric distribution utility, arrived in Cebu on Monday evening. We are also getting 26 additional people from Luzon who are scheduled to arrive Friday this week,” Lucero said.

All 86 personnel from the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will be leaving Cebu starting January 22.

About 33 of them will go to Surigao and Siargao while the rest will return to Manila after helping in the power restoration works.

Some linemen from other parts of the country are also heading back to their original base of operations while others are heading out to places like Surigao to continue their power restoration efforts with other electric cooperatives that badly need help.

Earlier, the utility firm also bought nine bucket trucks to add to its fleet of specialized equipment and is eyeing to purchase five more units. The company official further noted that Visayan Electric is also getting another local engineering contractor for civil works, particularly for pole digging.

As the utility’s linemen have started to target the outskirts of the metro, Lucero urged neighborhoods for their cooperation in bringing equipment to areas not accessible by big trucks.

Along with the continuous re-electrification efforts, Visayan Electric’s restoration teams discover the greater extent of the damage caused by the typhoon, as evidenced by more than 2,200 damaged poles, four times the 560 damaged poles previously surveyed last December 26. This number continues to rise as the utility further accesses farther-flung areas.

The company’s franchise area spans 674 square kilometers or six percent larger than Metro Manila. (PNA)