Power outages during storms are preventable

 

 By Rose de la Cruz

 

Rep. Carlos Roman Uybarreta, 1st Consumer Alliance for Rural Energy Inc. said power outages during storms can be prevented  by empowering electric cooperatives and those in the distribution and transmission to remove all potential hazards to power lines.

 

He narrated that Domeng, the first storm of the rainy or wet season, came and went but the monsoon rains remain. Even these monsoon rains alone can cause floods strong enough to wash away electricity poles and power transmission lines, especially those in the provinces. Some of these poles and power lines are on hills and slopes, and near rivers.

 

As the 1-CARE Party-List Representative expressing the voice of the electricity cooperatives, he asked the Senate to expedite passage of House Bill 6276 while there is still time left before the stronger storms come in the months ahead.

 

The Senate committee on energy, chaired by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian still has time to review and possibly improve on the proposed Anti-Power Line Disturbance Act embodied by HB 6276 before more destructive storms and floods come starting next July.

 

Complete staff work by the Senate energy committee can be undertaken in the coming weeks so that by late July or early August, significant progress would have been made.

 

The House approved HB 6276 on third and final reading last September 25, 2017 was sent to the Senate on September 27.

 

With HB 6276, the electric cooperatives and the distribution and transmission utilities would be empowered to clear all potential hazards to power lines and prevent blackouts.

 

Prevention is better than cure and we also get our technical crew out of harm's way. We would be able to spare electric coop customers the power outages which usually follow when storms topple tall trees that grow near or under power lines, he said.

 

The Anti-Power Line Disturbance bill of the House has a provision reserving only to the Supreme Court the power to issue injunctions or temporary restraining orders against efforts to clear right-of-way areas of hazards to power lines.

 

HB 6276 also requires applicants for building permits to secure first the permission of electric cooperatives before they build any structures at or near the right-of-way zone at power lines and facilities.  

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