Published By Freddie G. Lazaro
Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur — The whole province of Abra was experiencing a power outage a few hours before the New Year’s Eve revelry after a “kwitis” (skyrocket) sparked a fire that damaged power installations of the Abra Electric Cooperative’s (Abreco) in Bangued town on Friday night.
Arson investigators said the 30-minute fire which started at 8:18 p.m. Friday destroyed three industrial Automatic Voltage Regulators (AVR) and several feeders, forcing Abreco’s main substation to turn off electric power in the whole province.
The probers said the skyrocket hit a main power line, sparking a fire that crawled all the way to the substation.
Abreco General Manager Loreto Seares Jr. said had it not been the overloaded 5MVA substation that supplies the whole of the province, the huge fire could have been avoided.
The power cooperative had been asking the National Electrification Administration (NEA) since 2014 for assistance for another 5MVA substation in the province because the ill-fated substation has been 100 percent loading since two years ago.
Abreco reportedly tried to restore electric power early yesterday morning in the capital town of Bangued but failed.
As of presstime yesterday afternoon, there was no set schedule yet when power will be restored in Abra province and in other towns in Ilocos Sur affected by the blackout – Burgos, Sta. Maria, Narvacan, Nagbukel and Santa.