POWER DOWN. Linemen from Leyte help repair facilities damaged by Typhoon Odette in Bontoc, Southern Leyte in this May 18, 2022 photo. The Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative (Soleco) is eyeing to restore power by next month to the remaining 71 villages badly hit by the destructive typhoon five months ago. (Photo courtesy of Soleco)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative (Soleco) is eyeing to restore power by next month to the remaining 71 villages badly hit by Typhoon Odette five months ago.

Soleco general manager Jonathan Empeño said in a phone interview Thursday that limited personnel and lack of materials have been hampering efforts to bring back electricity in the past five months of restoration activities.

Electricity has been restored in only 432 out of 503 villages in Southern Leyte after more than five months of the power outage caused by "Odette".

Soleco reported that as of March, some 90,527 houses and establishments have been energized out of the 105,787 affected power consumers.

This means that 15,260 houses are still affected by the power outage.

“Under our revised target, we hope to fully restore power by June with some linemen from Eastern Visayas electric cooperatives who returned this week to augment the efforts of our linemen and contractors,” Empeño said in a phone interview.

Areas with fully restored power are the towns of Macrohon, Padre Burgos, Libagon, Pintuyan, San Juan, Anahawan, Hinundayan, Limasawa, and Silago.

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

Electric cooperatives have already spent more than 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 estimated at PHP800 million. (PNA)