As an aftermath of typhoon Quinta’s devastation, massive swath in 15 provinces groped in the dark due to power outages caused by damages in various power facilities.
According to the Department of Energy, the estimated cost of damage to the power facilities of the electric cooperatives (ECs) is placed at ₱1.112 billion.
In the franchise area of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) that was affected by the extreme weather condition, the energy department reported that 356,996 customers experienced electricity service snaps.
In a report by the National Electrification Administration (NEA), it stated that at least 23 electric cooperatives (ECs) suffered varying degrees of interruptions.
The provinces which agonized over blackouts include Cagayan, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes, and Aklan.
According to NEA, worst hit areas have been Batangas and the Bicol region, with many jurisdictions reporting “total loss of power due to the unavailability of transmission services from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.”
Several electric cooperatives servicing off-grid domains were also impeded by utter power loss – primarily those in Ticao Island, Busuanga, Lubang, Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro.
Electric cooperatives that had been racked with service interruptions were those in Batangas, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Lubang Island, Busuanga, Camarines Sur, Ticao Island, Sorsogon, Albay, Laguna, Cagayan, Quezon, Tablas Island, Romblon, Masbate, Catanduanes, and Aklan.
On the restoration of power service to consumers, NEA Administrator Edgardo R. Masongsong said “our electric cooperatives have already dispatched teams to assess the damage caused by typhoon Quinta to their distribution facilities and to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible.”
As of press time, both NEA and the DOE deferred giving definitive commitments on when electricity service can be fully restored in the affected areas.
Given the scale of repair and service restoration to be done, Masongsong is appealing to all consumers affected “for their patience as our electric cooperatives work to address these outages.”
And as a matter of precaution, the NEA chief advised the public “to stay away from downed power lines to avoid accidents, and to immediately report these to their electric cooperatives.”
As of Tuesday, system operator NGCP indicated that several of its transmission facilities had been downed by the calamity and were unavailable, including its: HermosaFloridablanca line in north Luzon; Batangas-Mabini line, BatangasIbaan-Rosario line, Batangas-Bauan line, Bay-Calamba line, PitogoMulanay line, Naga-Libmanan line, Naga-Lagonoy line, Naga-Iriga line, Naga-Tinambac line, Tiwi-MalinaoTabaco line, and Daraga-Sorsogon line in south Luzon.
The transmission firm also reported one of its 500-kilovolt and five 230-kV lines rendered unavailable: the Naga-Tiwi A, Naga-Tiwi C, Daraga-Bacman Line 1 and 2, and Daraga-Tiwi lines. The initial transmission facilities it restored were the: Gumaca-Lopez-Tagkawayan, Daraga-Legaspi, Famy-Comon and Daraga-Ligao lines.
3 dead, 13 missing, 919,000 affected
Meanwhile, three persons were confirmed dead, 13 remain missing, and more than 919,000 were affected as Quinta dealt heavy damage and casualties despite adequate preparations before it left the country Tuesday morning, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.
NDRRMC spokesman Mark Timbal said among the fatalities were a 60-year-old woman and a man of undetermined age, respectively from Siaton and Bindoy towns in Negros Oriental, who both drowned at the height of Quinta.
The body of another man was also fished out in Mogpog, Marinduque on Monday.
Search and rescue (SAR) teams have yet to find eight of the 12 fishermen who were earlier reported missing in Catanduanes. Four of the fishermen were already found, Timbal said.
Timbal also confirmed that two fishermen also went missing in Calabanga, Camarines Sur and Iloilo, while a crew of the sunken yacht MV Oceanic Explorer 3 remained unaccounted for as of this writing.
Two unidentified persons were also missing in Odiongan, Romblon, and Negros Oriental.
“(They were) swept by strong river current while attempting to cross,” Timbal said.
Another unidentified person was injured in Mogpog, Marinduque, after sustaining cuts from glass shards carried by strong winds.
Timbal said they have yet to verify two reported deaths in Cagayan Valley (Region 2) and Mauban, Quezon (Region 4A), and a couple who reportedly were hit by a falling tree in Baco, Oriental Mindoro.
A total of 919,709 individuals or 237,948 families were deemed affected in Metro Manila, Central Luzon (Region 3), Calabarzon (Region 4A), Mimaropa (Region 4B), Bicol (Region 5), Western Visayas (Region 6), Central Visayas (Region 7), Eastern Visayas (Region 8), and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Of these, 77,793 individuals or 22,029 families were temporarily housed in 843 evacuation centers in the affected regions, Timbal said.
At least seven areas remain flooded in Bicol Region, Western Visayas, and CAR, forcing the evacuation of 50 families.
These are located in Balatan, Camarines Sur; Hinobaan and Talisay City in Negros Occidental; and Calanasan, Apayao.
Twenty-two road sections in Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Bicol Region, and CAR were also affected by flooding, road slip, landslide and soil erosion – eight of which were rendered not passable to motorists.
Stranded And due to the cancellation of sea and air travel, a total of 1,960 passengers, 561 rolling cargoes, 24 vessels, a motor banca, and 270 other vehicles were stranded in various ports in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, and Eastern Visayas.
As this developed, another threat looms as a low- pressure area (LPA) east of Southern Luzon may become a tropical depression within 48 hours. In its severe weather bulletin issued at 11 a.m., the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) last spotted “Quinta” at 775 kilometers (km) west of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro or 255 km north of Pagasa Island, Palawan, leaving the PAR at around 8 a.m.
Tropical cyclone wind Signal No. 1 remains hoisted over Kalayaan Islands as Quinta is still expected to have a direct impact on the area.
PAGASA said moderate to heavy with at times intense rains may prevail over Western Visayas, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan including Calamian, Cuyo, and Kalayaan Islands, and light to moderate with at times heavy rains over Cavite, Laguna Batangas, Rizal, Quezon Davao Region, Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora and Surigao del Sur.
Strong breeze to gale conditions will still be felt in Kalayaan Islands.