Visayan Electric helps restore power in Bohol towns hit by ‘Odette’

·3 min read

IN LIGHT of the progress made by affected communities after the onslaught of Typhoon Odette (Rai) last year, Visayan Electric Company has highlighted the opportunity for further collaboration toward a more resilient future.

This came on the heels of the Cebu-based power firm’s deployment of augmentation crews to help with power restoration in two Bohol towns last June, which a company executive emphasized the benefits of synergy among various sectors.

“Whether we were on the giving or receiving end of assistance in the aftermath of Odette, one thing was clear: One can go far alone but can go farther with the help of others,” Visayan Electric president and chief operating officer Raul Lucero said.

Visayan Electric, an AboitizPower subsidiary, sent two groups of 10 linemen each to the towns of Buenavista and Getafe last month. The teams were in the two towns from April 21 to June 3.

These towns had gone almost five months without stable electricity, with a few far-flung villages experiencing it for much longer. Local utilities had to implement power rationing during this period.

By the end of the two teams’ stay, they had repaired and put up 163 electric poles, repositioned 15 transformers, and fixed power lines spanning 45 kilometers, helping energize dozens, if not hundreds, of households across these places.

Lucero earlier said that this was their way of paying forward the help Visayan Electric had received from other distribution utilities during their time of need. The next logical step, he said, would be to explore other areas of cooperation. This can include, among others, sharing knowledge, expertise, and best practices between distribution utilities and electric cooperatives across neighboring provinces to respond better in future emergencies.

The executive also pointed out that work goes beyond the mandate of electric utilities, going on to say that preparedness and resilience are things all sectors must work together to achieve.

Bohol First District Rep. Edgardo Chatto told Visayan Electric representatives that he “looks forward to more partnerships [with Aboitiz] in the future.”

He thanked the Aboitiz Group for its support, further stating that the Visayan Electric utility crews helped bring stable power back to many homes and businesses.

“They say that adversities bring out the best and worst in people. This collaboration between electric cooperatives is very much appreciated as it displayed bayanihan and immediate response to power consumers,” Chatto said.

Earlier news reports stated that agriculture had suffered the most, with a damage pegged at over P3 billion as of the end of December 2021. The tourism sector, which is considered the island’s bread and butter, had also incurred losses estimated at around P430 million as of January this year.

“We are very thankful to Aboitiz and Visayan Electric for helping us in these difficult times through their quick response in restoring our damaged power lines,” said Chatto.

The congressman pointed out that power is vital to development since many industries that economic growth is hinged on require stable electricity, including agriculture and tourism. (PR)

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