Senator Win Gatchalian is calling on the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to make full use of the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund (ECERF) to ensure that the more than 1.8 million households affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Tisoy will have electricity ahead of Christmas.
The ECERF, established by Republic Act 11039 or the ECERF Act, is a fund administered by NEA for the purpose of providing immediate financial assistance to electric cooperatives (ECs) for the rehabilitation of power lines and other electricity infrastructure damaged during calamities.
For this year, P750 million has been allocated for the initial implementation of the law, which will be taken from the budget of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF).
“Kaya natin isinulong ang batas na ito ay upang mapabilis ang restoration ng ilaw sa mga lugar na naapektuhan ng Bagyong Tisoy. Isa sa mga magagandang Christmas gift na matatamasa ng ating mga kababayan na naapektuhan ng bagyo ay ang panunumbalik ng kuryente sa kani-kanilang bahay sa pagsapit ng kapaskuhan,” the lawmaker said.
“We will continue to monitor the restoration of the power supply in affected provinces so as to ensure the rapid recovery of our countrymen from this natural calamity,” he added.
The NEA said in its latest power monitoring report that at least 1,839,803 households located in 311 municipalities in 17 provinces andfour regions in the country were affected by the havoc of ‘Tisoy’. As of December 5 (Wednesday) the NEA reported that power has been fully restored in 34 municipalities and partially restored in 72 others while 205 municipalities continue to live in darkness.
The same data provided by NEA showed that a total of 50 ECs have been affected by the recent typhoon, six of which sustained heavy damages. These six ECs are Northern Samar Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Norsamelco), Sorsogon Electric Cooperative I (Soreco I), Albay Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Aleco), Camarines Sur III Electric Cooperative (Casureco III), Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (Ormeco), and Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (Omeco).
The NEA report also says that the initial estimated cost of damage sustained by electric cooperatives reached ₱300 million.
As the power restoration in typhoon-hit areas continues, Senator Gatchalian gave ECs a stern warning against attempts to burden their member-consumers with the rehabilitation costs of damaged infrastructure through additional pass-on charges in the monthly electricity bill.
“Kaya nga tayo gumawa ng batas gaya ng ECERF Act at naglaan ng pondo para sa ganitong mga okasyon ay para maibsan ang mga dinadalang problema ng ating mga kababayan na nasalanta ng bagyo,” he said.