THE Department of Energy (DOE) will look into the reported overpricing of oil products in Biliran province after Tropical Storm “Urduja” damaged roads and bridges leading to the provincial capital.
DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said they have been receiving reports of gasoline price surge in Biliran in the past few days.
“Because of the difficulty of our officials to get here, we urged local authorities and even social media users to document overpricing and report to us,” Fuentebella said during Monday's (December 18) press briefing at the Naval State University in Naval, Biliran.
In a Facebook post by Biliran Island, some gasoline stations have closed Tuesday as oil supply ran out. The price of retail gasoline sold by some houses in Naval town now costs P90 to P100 per liter.
“Some Naval residents buy gasoline by the gallons from Calubian, Leyte, crossing the Biliran Strait,” the Facebook post stated.
Photos of long queues of oil consumers and closed gasoline stations in Biliran have been circulating in social networking sites.
Fuentebella said of all fuel suppliers to Biliran, only Chevron in Ormoc City has closed after the storm. Still operating are Petron, Shell and Phoenix Petroleum with depots in nearby Leyte and Cebu provinces.
The DOE official said ship tankers would come to Biliran to avert shortage of petroleum products in the province.
The energy department has been working with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and electric cooperatives to immediately restore power in typhoon-stricken communities, Fuentebella said.
In an advisory issued on December 19, the NGCP said power transmission operations in Visayas are back to normal operations as the firm successfully completed the restoration of lines damaged by the storm.
On Tuesday, December 19, the Biliran Electric Cooperative (Bileco) said power was restored in 20 villages of Biliran, Cabucgayan and Caibiran towns.
“Please take note that Bileco prioritizes the restoration of power in our backbone lines to serve the district towns in whole area coverage so that vital institutions can operate and provide the needed services to our people,” the power cooperative said in a statement.
Fuentebella reported that the Unified Leyte Geothermal Power Plant in Leyte was also damaged by the storm, consequently reducing its generation capacity from 463 megawatts to 215 megawatts. (PNA)