By Danny Escatacio
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan– Light at the end of the tunnel may now be in sight for the long-suffering residents of Palawan following efforts of the Department of Energy (DOE) to ramp up support for a multi-sectoral program to end the recurrent brownouts in the province once and for all.
Various stakeholders in the public and private sectors came up with various programs based on the recent findings and recommendations of the DOE’s Task Force PALECO, (Palawan Electric Cooperative), in a recent meeting.
The special task force was created in February by Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi to address the power interruptions in Puerto Princesa and other parts of Palawan.
After an Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee (IACC) and the Task Force meeting with the representatives of the PALECO, National Power Corporation (NPC), and Palawan government they already discussed the progress of the implementation of the respective action plans last July 25, 2019.
The PALECO has been facing angry backlash from consumers and the local government since 2017 due to unreliable electricity services in the province.
DOE Secretary Cusi directed TF-PALECO to look into the power interruptions perennially bugging Palawan through a Performance Audit and Assessment, for which the Task Force conducted two site validations in February and March.
Based on the assessment, the Task Force noted the uncoordinated synchronization of the protection system of PALECO and NPC’s distributions lines; overloaded substations; vegetation obstruction along distribution lines; and the slow coordination among various government agencies on distribution line maintenance and improvements.
Based on these findings, the DOE directed PALECO, NPC, and the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to submit implementation programs. PALECO was expected to accelerate tree clearing activities along its distribution lines, while the NPC was requested to fast track the improvement of its transmission lines and upgrade its power substations.
In the meeting, the IACC-TF PALECO also presented its final report to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), a multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary body governing and implementing policies in the province, headed by Governor Jose Chavez Alvarez. The PCSD has pledged to help foster efficient coordination among the various relevant stakeholders and local government agencies to effectively address all the issues surrounding the matter.
The council’s members included local government units and agencies, consumer and business groups, as well as indigenous cultural communities or indigenous peoples,
“The DOE is committed to taking the lead in ensuring that PALECO’s issues will soon be addressed. With the cooperation of all stakeholders, particularly the PALECO Board of Directors, its management member-consumers, as well as the local government agencies, we should be able to provide high-quality electricity services that Palawenos deserve,” Cusi said.