ONGOING REPAIR. Linemen from Samar are joined by villagers in Maasin City as they work for the restoration of power in some parts of the city more than four months after Typhoon Odette battered the province. Electricity has been restored in only 386 out of 500 villages in Southern Leyte, as of April 27, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative)

TACLOBAN CITY – Restoration of power in all villages in the province of Southern Leyte battered by Typhoon Odette last December is eyed by end of May.

Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative (Soleco) general manager Jonathan Empeño said on Thursday that limited personnel and lack of materials have been hampering efforts to bring back electricity in the past four months of restoration activities.

“We hope to energize all the 500 villages by the end of May. Only about 100 linemen are working to restore power from our electric cooperative, our contractors, and a team from South Cotabato,” Empeño told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview.

Electricity has been restored in only 386 out of 500 villages in Southern Leyte after more than four months of the power outage caused by "Odette".

Soleco reported that as of April 27, only 79,362 houses and establishments have been energized out of the 105,787 affected power consumers.

This means that 26,425 houses are still affected by the power outage.

“As of this posting, 76.74 percent of villages are already partially-energized within the coverage area of Soleco. Per consumer status, 75.02 percent are already energized,” Empeño added.

Of the 19 towns under the franchise area of Soleco, only the towns of Padre Burgos, Libagon, Pintuyan, San Juan, and Silago have been enjoying full power restoration as of this week.

Partially energized communities are in Maasin City, Macrohon, Tomas Oppus, Bontoc, Sogod, Liloan, San Ricardo, Saint Bernard, San Francisco, Hinunangan, Malitbog, Anahawan, Hinundayan, and Limasawa towns.

Electric cooperatives have already spent about PHP300 million to restore power in Southern Leyte.

The amount includes the PHP100 million loan to Soleco from the National Electrification Administration and their PHP39 million contingency fund to carry out the restoration works.

Typhoon Odette toppled electric posts and destroyed other distribution facilities when it battered parts of Visayas and Mindanao on Dec. 16, 2021.

The total cost of damage to Soleco facilities is pegged at PHP800 million. (PNA)