SEN. Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday urged electric cooperatives in the typhoon-ravaged provinces to avail of the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund (Ecerf).
Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Energy committee, noted that by virtue of the Republic Act (RA) 11039, the Ecerf could help hasten the financing of recovery efforts especially the restoration of power lines in Catanduanes and Albay recently toppled down by Typhoons “Quinta” and “Rolly.”
Reports say it may take at least two months to restore power in Albay since more than 70 percent of electric poles throughout the province were severely damaged.
The Ecerf, which is administered and managed by the National Electrification Administration, is allocated exclusively for the restoration or rehabilitation of electric cooperatives’ or distribution utilities’ damaged infrastructures after a fortuitous event or force majeure.
The Ecerf, signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 29, 2018, has an appropriation of P250 million for 2020 which has remained unused as of June 30, 2020, Gatchalian said.
“Electric cooperatives and distribution utilities can draw funds from Ecerf to enable them to repair their facilities as quickly as possible. A lot of electric poles were toppled by Typhoons Quinta and Rolly. They can tap these funds in seeking financial assistance from the government,” the senator, who principally authored and sponsored RA 11039, said.
“This is a response fund. We have to utilize this in anticipation of situations like these.
They can quickly restore power lines without having to worry about the pass on costs to the customers they serve,” the senator explained.
“Kailangang tulungan nating maibalik agad ang kuryente at linya ng komunikasyon sa mga apektadong lugar. Isa sa mga maaantala nito ay ang pag-aaral ng mga estudyante na gumagamit ng internet para sa distance learning (We need to help in restoring the electricity and lines of communication in the affected areas. One of those to be delayed will be the studies of the students who are using the internet for distance learning),” said Gatchalian.