Michael Guidry, a former NRECA board president, and Martin Lowery, NRECA executive vice president, toured parts of the Philippines devastated by last fall’s Supertyphoon Haiyan. During the visit, they awarded more than $120,000 raised by the NRECA International Foundation to help 11 co-ops rebuild their leveled systems. Donations from U.S. co-ops and individuals will help recipients defray reconstruction costs of low-income members and other economically disadvantaged residents.
“I never saw anything like the total devastation I’ve seen here,” Guidry said. And that speaks volumes, considering that Guidry, as general manager of South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association, oversaw post-disaster restoration efforts from hurricanes Katrina, Gustav and Ike.
“The destruction is degrees of magnitude greater. People are coping…but the reconstruction challenge is simply overwhelming,” he said.
Of the island nation’s 119 electric cooperatives, 33 sustained significant damage and 11 were nearly destroyed. Estimates to rebuild electric systems damaged by the Nov. 10 typhoon could exceed $120 million, according to the Philippine’s National Electrification Administration.
Power restoration in the hardest-hit areas surrounding Tacloban is about 40 percent, said Lowery. “Electric service is a first priority for stable planning. Without it, many who left after the storm will not return. With full service, many will come home and begin the massive work of building the housing stock.”
Source: Electric Co-op Today