The island was in darkness until the birth of Siargao Electric Cooperative, Incorporated (SIARELCO), a non-stock, nonprofit distribution utility organized by virtue of Presidential Degree No. 269 under the supervision of the National Electrification Administration (NEA).
SIARELCO was incorporated on September 8, 1979 and become the 114th Electric Cooperative recognized in the Philippines by virtue of Republic Act 6038 (1969) as amended by P.D. 269 (1973) and P.D. 1645 (1979). It is located at Catabaan, Dapa, Surigao del Norte. Its area coverage is composed of nine municipalities and 132 barangays. The nine (9) municipalities are divided into six (6) districts only
The cooperative availed loans from NEA for the construction of its distribution system. Construction of distribution lines was first done by Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific, Inc. (AG & P). But when typhoon Nitang hit the area on September 4, 1984, the constructed line was damaged and the re-construction was done by Force Account.
The first energization took place on January 15, 1985 only in the municipality of Dapa and for only six hours every night using two old unit 150 KW each Cummins gensets from Kalinga Apayao Electric Cooperative, Inc. (KAELCO). Subsequent energization of the other municipalities took place making the eight towns energized on the following dates:
Dapa - January 15, 1985
General Luna - May 15, 1985
Del Carmen - July 13, 1985
San Isidro - September 20, 1985
Pilar - October 9, 1985
Sta. Monica - February 1, 1986
San Benito - July 25, 1986
Burgos - December 6, 1986
The gensets broke down due to overloading. A new generating set with a 364 KW capacity was reinforced by the National Power Corporation. Even though load shedding is implemented, still the generating sets broke down one after the other. The cooperative was filled with disappointments and the islanders lost hope.
By then, NEA saw that the solution to the problem was to draw the energy supply from the Maria Cristina Power Grid at Lake Lanao.
With West Germany's help Php 117,882,385.00 was produced for the purpose. Two units of 5MVA substations were installed, one in Mainland Mindanao at Cagdianao, Claver, Surigao del Norte and another in Can-uwak, Dapa, Surigao del Norte.
Submarine cables were laid connecting the Mindanao Mainland and Bucas Grande Island, East Bucas and Dapa. The construction of 26 kilometers overhead transmission line traversing the islands of Bucas Grande, Middle Bucas and East Bucas on June 4, 1990 was completed on December 7, 1991, under the supervision of NEA engineers.
March 20, 1992 marks the zenith of SIARELCO'S achievements when the cooperative availed a round-the-clock energy supply from Maria Cristina hydro power.
The town of Socorro which is located in Bucas Grande Island was energized only on June 16, 1993 after the energization of submarine cable in Cagdianao, Claver, Surigao del Norte.
Years later, SIARELCO keep on improving and providing efficient and steadfast service to its member/consumers and because of this, the cooperative received awards from National Electrification Administration (NEA) and has been a consistent category A+ cooperative of the last 9, years.
After several years of operation, SIARELCO encountered huge challenges. On May 2009, the 5MVA substation in Cagdiano, Claver experienced transformer problem that resulted to power interruption in the entire coverage area. Several tests during the preventive maintenance and survey conducted by CESTCO Inc. reveals technical problem of its winding. To get a second opinion, the Coop hired the Services of Baseline Enertech Company, Inc. to conduct another test of the same kind and to confirm its previous findings. It therefore selected the same result in the problem of its Transformer Turn Ratio unbalanced reading and the presence of Combustible gases in its transformer oil. So, Dissolve Gas Analysis (DGA) was conducted and it was recommended to be un-tank/ decommissioned the soonest possible time to avoid further severe damaged. It is recommended further, to acquire a spare unit 5MVA substation so that the load connection will be temporarily transferred in it for the duration of the repair in order to have a continuous supply of power in the entire Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands. On April 2, 2010, another crisis was encountered by the coop when its 10 kilometers submarine cable laid along Brgy. Cagdiano, Claver and DoÃ±a Helen, Socorro, Surigao del Norte linking the island to the mainland grid, experienced short circuit resulting to the total blackout in the whole island of Siargao and Bucas Grande from April 2-14, 2010.
SIARELCO give priority on the acquisition of a spare unit 5MVA substation in Cagdianao, Claver near the old substation of the coop. while the construction is in progress, another predicament happened when a strong lightning hit the partially damaged old 5MVA substation in Cagdianao, Claver on Nov. 14, 2010 which resulted to a total damaged of the said substation. Again, a total black out was experienced in the entire coverage of the coop. In order to immediately restore the power, the management expedite the completion of the spare unit substation despite the fact that the construction is not 100% completed energization of said substation took place on Nov. 18, 2010.
Considering that the spare unit substation is rated only at 69 KV/13.2 KV compared to the old Substation which is rated 69 KV/ 34.5 KV, these is a need to replace the 40 units distribution transformers installed along the Transmission Line located in the Municipality and barangays of Socorro and Islets of Dapa as a consequence of using a 69 KV/ 13.2 KV substation. The coopâ€™s Distribution Line encountered low voltage problem especially in ones located far from the substation. This low voltage problem resulted to the increase of the coopâ€™s systems losses.
The repair, rewinding and rehabilitation of the old 5 MVA substation which was done in Manila was completed last August 2011 and it was successfully energized last September 10, 2011 bringing the coop back to its normal operation. Thus, eliminate its problem on low voltage.
Despite all these hindrances, SIARELCO continuously maintained its outstanding performance with notable achievements bringing life through electricity in the entire Siargao and Bucas Grande Island.