The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) called on construction companies and contractors to alert the power distributor ahead of time for planned construction work near electrical assets such as electric poles and electrical wires and cables.
This courtesy is to ensure that Meralco can implement proper safety precautions to prevent instability of utility poles when excavations are dug, accidental power trips on circuit breakers and transformers, or unintentional damage to power lines that could cause power blackouts at the minimum, or electrocution and fatalities at the worse.
“We’re requesting our contractor and developer partners to please get in touch with us if they’re planning to do some civil works near our facilities. Meralco doesn’t want to get in the way of construction projects and their progress. However, there are some important protocols that need to be observed,” said Vice President and Head of Organizational Safety and Business Continuity Management, Antonio M. Abuel Jr.
Construction companies can coordinate with Meralco and advise them of impending activities near electrical assets, and the utility’s safety engineers can make sure that unplanned power interruptions are avoided, and any civil works can proceed with safety. Meralco offers safety orientations conducted for on-site personnel should a refresher course on safety be required.
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Once advised, Meralco crew can facilitate interruption if extremely necessary – through a Request for Temporary Power Interruption (RTPI). They can also assess the ground if there is an alternative position for the poles, or on other cases, an outright relocation of it.
Finally, Meralco is also asking the public to report any damaged or reclining poles near any construction sites if they happen to notice these.
Recognizing continuous and reliable electricity as a matter of national security and as a central element to economic development, Sen. Win Gatchalian, Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy authored the “Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act” in 2019, prohibiting the planting of tall growing plants, the construction of hazardous improvements, and the conduct of any hazardous activities within the power line corridor.
The power line corridor – which includes the land beneath, the air spaces surrounding, and the area traversed by power lines, including its horizontal, vertical, and similar clearance requirements – shall, at all times, be kept clear and free from any obstructions, dangerous structures, hazardous activities, or any similar circumstances that impede the continuous flow of electricity.
Gatchalian explained that, given the gravity of the consequences on potential violations, the Act lays out severe penalties on those found guilty of committing any of the prohibited acts specified under it. The duration of imprisonment and/or monetary charges, meted out at the discretion of the court, increase with every repeat of the offense.
Get in touch with Meralco by calling its Business Hotline at 16210 or via e-mail at [email protected].