DOE assures rapid power restoration in emergencies

TAGUIG CITY – Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi today said the Department of Energy (DOE) and the energy family is ready and equipped to ensure rapid energy restoration in the event of natural or man-made emergencies.

In his presentation as part of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Talk to the People aired last night (2 September), the Energy chief noted that the DOE  has  been recognized as “among the rapid responders in the restoration of energy services during calamities.”

“Ito po ay dahil sa implementasyon ng Energy Resiliency Policy (ERP), kung saan pinaghahandaan po ng buong energy family ang mga kalamidad na mararanasan ng ating bansa,” Secretary Cusi explained.

On 17 January 2018, Secretary Cusi signed the ERP by virtue of Department Circular DC2018-01-001, providing for the “Adoption of Energy Resiliency in the Planning and Programming of the Energy Sector to Mitigate Potential Impacts of Disasters”.

ERP strengthens the existing energy infrastructure, implements the “Build Back Better” principle in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure, improves existing operational maintenance and practices to ensure continued operation and energy supply.

It also serves to develop resiliency standards that will be used as basis in the future construction of energy facilities.

The Circular requires all members of the Philippine energy industry to prepare their respective Resiliency Compliance Plans (RCPs), which should contain “structural and non-structural adaptation measures, to gauge infrastructure and human resource preparedness during and in the aftermath of disruptive events.”

As of 30 July 2019, the DOE has received a total of 147 RCPs from its stakeholders, and is expecting to receive over a hundred more RCPs from electric cooperatives.

The ERP likewise created the Task Force on Energy Resiliency (TFER) to implement the provisions of the circular.  

TFER is chaired by the DOE and includes the National Electrification Administration, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, National Power Corporation, National Transmission Corporation, Philippine National Oil Company, and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation as its members.

Its primary function is three-fold: ensure that government and private institutions develop and adopt their respective resiliency programs; determine the status of energy facilities and infrastructure during, before, and after emergencies; and lead restoration activities, when needed.  

“Parating pa lang po ang bagyo ay ready na po ang TFER. Tuwing may kalamidad, kasama dito ang buong energy family at stakeholders. Tulad po ngayon, tag-bagyo na naman, at handa na naman po ang TFER para rumesponde,” Secretary Cusi added.

In February this year, the TFER, rushed to the Bicol region upon the instructions of Secretary Cusi to review the energy sector’s response after Typhoon Quinta, Super Typhoon Rolly, and Typhoon Ulysses successively barreled through the area and destroyed vital energy infrastructure in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is imperative that we institutionalize a strong culture of resilience within the Philippine energy industry. Resiliency should not only be a measure of our ability to recover from calamities. Rather, resilience should enable all of us to build better and stronger to begin with, in anticipation of the potential destruction that could take place during unfortunate and unforeseen events,” Secretary Cusi stressed.