Underground cabling works on track – MORE Power

file photo

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The move to bury overhead power lines in downtown Iloilo City is well within its schedule, with completion date eyed in June 2024, according to MORE Electric and Power Corp.

Engr. Armil Logarta, Project Development and Management head of MORE Power, said the Underground Distribution Services (UDS) project along JM Basa Street is advancing rapidly.

Logarta said the civil works, which is 35% of the project and includes dredging and drilling activities, are well underway.

Since its launching on October 10, 2023, the UDS is progressing seamlessly according to schedule, with no reported delays to date, he added.

The UDS covers a 1-kilometer stretch of Iloilo City’s historic business district, including the heritage zone known as Calle Real – from the corner of Arroyo St. to Aldeguer St., Guanco St., Mapa St., Ortiz St., until Rizal/Zamora St. (Burgos St.) and Libertad Plaza.

Its projected completion is June 2024, with two additional months for the removal of existing facilities.

Logarta said the UDS is composed of three phases:

-Phase 1 involves the civil works;

-Phase 2 involves electrical works, cable laying and termination; and

-Phase 3 culminates with the removal of existing overhead lines and structures.

Phase 2 or the actual undergrounding of cables is expected to start in January 2024 and will run until June 2024.

Utilizing the Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), a cutting-edge method for installing underground utilities and plumbing, the UDS project stands apart from traditional methods by eliminating the need for open trenches.

This approach ensures minimal disruptions in the downtown area, with construction activities conducted from 7 PM to 7 AM to avoid traffic jams at daytime.

During the May 30, 2023 groundbreaking ceremony, Engr. Bernard Bailey Del Castillo, Vice President for Network Operations, highlighted that the UDS project will eliminate the risks of geckos, birds, and rats encroaching the overhead lines and will ensure a safer and more reliable electrical infrastructure.

These will resolve power outages caused by animal intrusion and will address the annual concern of balloons slipping away during the Dinagyang festival and causing interruptions.

The UDS will also eradicate the need for periodic tree trimming.

MORE Power President and CEO Roel Castro said the UDS project reflects their commitment to supporting local government initiatives, particularly in preserving the cultural and heritage aspects of the community.

“I believe there are very few cities in the Philippines that can genuinely boast of having a rich heritage and culture, evident in the edifices and monuments scattered around the city. These structures serve as testaments to the city’s exceptionally rich cultural and historical legacy,” Castro said.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said the removal of above-ground power lines will diminish the risk of accidents stemming from adverse weather conditions, fallen trees, and other unforeseen circumstances.

The UDS will also provide uninterrupted power to residences, businesses, hospitals, and schools.

“This enhanced reliability will stimulate economic growth, entice new investments, and cultivate a favorable environment for businesses to flourish,” Treñas said.