Demand for power in Batangas province drastically declined this month as thousands of residential customers evacuated and businesses closed amid the unrest of Taal Volcano, the National Electrification Administration said over the weekend.
NEA administrator Edgardo Masongsong said he recently visited the offices of Batangas I Electric Cooperative Inc. and Batangas II Electric Cooperative Inc. to check the status of their power distribution operations.
Masongsong extended his sympathy to the residents affected by the calamity, including rural electrification workers. BATELEC-I has 157 internally displaced employees while BATELEC-II reported 91.
“Let us not lose hope. We are doing everything as a movement, so we can rise again,” the NEA chief said.
Masongsong assured the electric cooperatives that the leaderships of their regional and national organizations would provide support during the calamity.
BATELEC I reported a 7-megawatt drop in demand, while BATELEC II estimated the loss in demand at 12 MW to 15 MW.
Masongsong said the drop would have an effect on the electric cooperatives’ operations including financial and technical aspects, system loss rates and collection efficiency.
BATELEC II general manager Octavious Mendoza said the municipalities of Talisay and Laurel were on forced power shutdown as both towns were placed on total lockdown by authorities to prevent residents from going back to their homes.
BATELEC II also enforced a mandatory shutdown of electricity to 21 barangays of Tanauan City that are within the 14-kilometer danger zone starting Friday noon.
Covered by the temporary shutdown were the barangays of Ambulong, Bañadero, Gonzales, Wawa, Boot, Maria Paz, Bagbag, Balele, Mabini, Tinurik, Banjo West, Janopol Oriental, Janopol Occidental, Talaga, Bilog-bilog, Maugat, San Jose, Natatas, Luyos, Montaña and Santor.
BATELEC II assistant general manager Mary Ann Dimaano said efforts to restore power to villages not included in the list of “critical areas” by the local government would continue.
Dimaano said the barangays in Tanauan City with ongoing restoration activities included Altura Bata, Altura Matanda, Altura South, Cale, Malaking Pulo and Santol, with a total of 2,605 households.
BATELEC I general manager Alvin Velasco said the towns of Agoncillo, Lemery, and San Nicolas—all under lockdown—were also on forced power shutdown. These municipalities have total households of 32,392.
Velasco said the electric cooperatives were undertaking activities such as massive clean-up of their power distribution facilities, substations and feeder lines which were covered by a thick layer of volcanic ash.
The Department of Energy visited Cavite and Batangas provinces to continue its assessment of the energy situation amid the Taal Volcano eruption.
Energy officials met with executives of local government units of Cavite and Batangas not only to discuss the power situation but also help ensure that no predatory practices, such as overpricing of petroleum products would take place in the area.
The entire provinces of Batangas and Cavite were placed under state of calamity, thereby enforcing a price freeze on household liquefied petroleum gas and kerosene products for 15 days upon the SOC’s declaration.