Utility firms urged: Prepare to move wires underground

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita |April 11,2018 - 09:24 PM

Overhead wires and electric posts along A.S. Fortuna St. in Mandaue City will soon go underground if Visayan Electric Company’s plan to implement its underground distribution system in the city will push through. Veco is considering making A.S. Fortuna as its pilot area if plans will carry.
CDN FILE PHOTO

Veco urged to make underground distribution system project happen in Mandaue

Utility firms in Mandaue City are encouraged to prepare to move their overhead wires underground.

This call was after the City Council passed a city ordinance on July 2017 regulating utility posts and wires in the city.

Although the ordinance only provides for the removal of dilapidated posts and overhead spaghetti wires, the city governments also prefers for these wires to be transferred underground.

The Council’s call, however, has not gone unheeded as the Visayan Electric Company, which is implementing an underground distribution system project in Cebu City,announced, made nine months after the passing of the ordinance, its plan to move its overhead electric wires underground in Mandaue City as well.

“Mandaue City always wants to take it (overhead wires) underground. A.S. Fortuna will be a perfect pilot area,” Anton Mari Perdices, Veco chief operating officer,said in a recent interview.

Mandaue City Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna said they are planning to eventually pass a separate ordinance to completely ban overhead wires, and so as early as now, going underground should be the next move for utilities.

“We would highly welcome that plan (of Veco) and strongly urge them to make it happen soon especially in the major thoroughfares of the city. This applies to all telcos as well,” he told Cebu Daily News.

“The overhead wires have not only proven to be unsightly but dangerous as well to trucks and large vehicles,” he said

Phase 2

Currently, Veco is undertaking a massive underground distribution system (UDS) in Cebu City, particularly along the Sinulog Grand Parade route.
Armil Logarta, manager for the power systems design department of Veco, said they were working on the second phase of the UDS project, which had an estimated cost of around P60 million.

“We are almost finished with Phase 2 which started from the corner of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas going to Barangay Day-as (on Imus Road). This is around 600 meters,” he said.

The entire UDS project covers 4.75 kilometers.

Phase 1A and 1B of the project was already completed by Veco. Phase 1A is the 650-meter stretch of Osmena Blvd. from the Cebu Provincial Capitol to Fuente Osmena Circle. This costs P96 million.

Meanwhile, Phase 1B is 1.1 kilometers long from the Fuente Osmena Circle all the way to Osmena Blvd. corner P. Del Rosario St. This costs P65.5 million.

The rest of the route will be done by Veco in the next three to four years or so as they plan to do one kilometer a year.

Challenges

The underground cabling project is Veco’s compliance to Cebu City Ordinance No. 1894 which seeks to get rid of unsightly wires along the city’s roads. The ordinance was passed in April 2001 yet.

Veco wanted to encourage other telecommunications companies to join them in going underground particularly in the first phase of the project.

But Noel Modesto,Veco’s assistant vice president for engineering operations, said it took so long for these telcos to get approval from their respective central offices.

“When we started the Phase 1A, we wanted to collaborate with telcos. It was our intent that if there’s an excavation, it should be one excavation for all. However, since we could not wait for their approval, we had to do it ourselves,” he said.

Modesto said it had been a challenge for them to make sure that all other telcos would cooperate with their projects.

He said they could not remove some of their other posts since these telcos were still attached to these posts.

For his part, Perdices said that they had been closely working with other telcos in bundling spaghetti wires in different parts of Cebu City as an interim solution to the unsightly presence of these wires which had also caused several accidents before.

“We ask the public, if they see any dangerous situation of dangling wires to please let us know before another accident will happen,” Perdices appealed.

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