The Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) took advantage of typhoon Egay’s exit today July 28 to continue rebuilding damaged distribution structures and fully restore power in all areas next week. The task is gargantuan, said Beneco’s engineers, three days after Egay’s strong winds and torrential rains hit Baguio City and Benguet in the afternoon of July 25, causing the electric cooperative damages of up to P5.1 million as of FrIday.

The co-op expects the cost of damage to increase as reports from Benguet‘s remote towns are still coming in. Beneco has restored power to 63.07 % of its member consumers as of Friday. A memorandum issued by the city authorizing barangay captains to cut down live and dead trees that pose immediate danger to the public is expected to help Beneco’s linemen a lot especially if the trees fell on power cables or transformers.

Power is back to 98 of Baguio’s 129 barangays as all feeders (mainlines) in Baguio City and most of Benguet have been energized. Circuit 7 covering Sinipsip, Buguias is yet to be restored, according to
Roy Olatic, an engineer and one of Beneco’s construction and maintenance supervisor. Olatic said 120 linemen were dispatched on July 28 to repair 40 damaged primary poles and their attached lines and seven transformers.

The damaged poles and lines cost P3.5 million while the transformers, P1.5 million. Requests for repair flooded Beneco’s consumer welfare office at the height of the super typhoon that included calls for help on 40 broken poles brought down by fallen trees or caused by soil erosion. A collapsed pole was found at the Mil-an National High School in Loakan Proper, Baguio City which alone cost P677,962.21, so far the highest recorded damaged pole as of the latest report.

Poles that carried transformers were also damaged along the Military-Cut-Off rotunda, Gibraltar near Grumpy Joe, Gusaran in Wangal, La Trinidad, Abatan in Buguias, and Rich Gate, Camp 7 in Baguio City. A collapsed primary pole at Tiptop, Ambuklao Road, Baguio City made nights miserable for consumers residing in the areas covered by feeders 11,12, and 14. These feeders affected the biggest swathe of consumers without power in the city at the height of the typhoon.

In Benguet, the towns of Bakun, Bokod, Kabayan, Kapangan, Kibungan remain without power as of press time. The percentage of consumers whose powers are back are Atok (78%), Buguias (19.90%), Itogon (10.74%), La Trinidad (91.77%), Mankayan (62.81) Sablan (7.89%), Tuba (2.88%), Tublay
77.05%. Baguio City at 81.15%. “Our linemen are racing to bring back power to our consumers. But they have to do it safely. It maybe tedious and time consuming, but patrolling our lines is crucial to avoid further damage prolonging the power interruption,” Olatic said.

He added: “Our linemen had to fix our back bone lines first, followed by our laterals, then we can already attend to individual concerns.” Ramel Rifani, network services department manager, has
earlier appealed for patience and understanding from consumers following the decision of management not to dispatch the linemen when the rains were so strong. “We do not wish to place our linemen in peril,” he said.

Laarni Sibayan-Ilagan/PIOBaguio

Amianan Balita Ngayon