'Ruby' leaves 800,000 homes without power

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2014 10:56 PM | Updated as of Dec 09 2014 05:35 PM

MANILA – An estimated 800,000 households in the Samar provinces, big portions of Leyte provinces, Marinduque, and Oriental Mindoro lost electricity supply because of Tropical Storm Ruby.

Edita Bueno, administrator at the National Electrification Administration (NEA), said electric cooperatives were working overtime to restore distribution lines as the transmission backbone was being restored.

An initial report from the NEA said around 1.7 million households were without power at around 3 p.m, but that figure was reduced following restoration efforts.

“Right now naka-55 percent na tayo na may power, meaning mga 850,000 na ang may kuryente. Mga 800,000 [ang walang kuryente],” she told dzMM Monday night.

Bueno said restoring power in the Calbayog area in Samar will not take longer than December 12.

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said thirteen 69-kv transmission lines, a major bypass line, and transmission tower were damaged.

Transmission posts in far-flung areas have yet to be checked due to the bad weather.

"We only began our line patrol today kasi the weather was still a bit iffy yesterday so wala pa kaming full restoration schedule as of now,” said NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza.

As the storm neared Batangas Monday night, the Department of Energy said many major power plants in Southern Luzon were alerted for possible impact.

These include the three big plants running on natural gas, which contribute 2,700 megawatts to the Luzon grid and several coal-fired power plants.

The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), meanwhile, is reminding customers to switch off circuit breakers in case of flooding, and unplug appliances from wall sockets.

"Once we get feedback from the field na talagang mataas na ‘yung baha sa isang area, definitely, idede-energize namin ang area," said Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga.

Meralco said it is ready to assist customers in case of emergencies. It also advises consumers to raise their concerns and complaints through their call center at 16211, text lines (0920-9716211; 0917-5516211; and 0925-7716211), and social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. -- With a report from Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News