11 power transmission lines have critical ROW problems

by Myrna Velasco – February 7, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

At least 11 power transmission lines have been “rated critical” due to the lingering right-of-way (ROW) problems hounding their operations.

Based on latest 2015 data culled from the Department of Energy (DOE), about 147 landowners have lodged claims to the properties traversing the identified transmission lines.

Often, the ROW hurdles are with trees stringing around the lines or vegetation that have been hobbling access to the facilities.

The “problematic” transmission lines include the 138-kilovolt Baloi-Agus 2 lines 1 and 2 in which 26 landowners have lodged settlement claims.

This is the same line that was bombed last December, and had not been brought back to service until now.

The others are the 138kV Baloi-Agus 6 lines 1 and 2; 69kV Baloi-Agus 6 line; 138kV Baloi-Aurora lines 1 and 2; 138kV Baloi-Tagoloan lines 1 and 2; 138kV Baloi-Agus 4 lines 1 and 2; 138kV Baloi-Agus 5 line; 138kV Baloi-Iligan Diesel Power Plant line; 138kV Baloi-National Steel Corporation lines 1 and 2; 138kV Agus 2-Agus 1 line; and the 138kV Agus 2-Kibawe lines 1 and 2.

Aside from the Baloi-Agus 2 transmission line, the others with hefty ROW claims have been the Baloi-NSC line with 41 claimants; Baloi-Tagoloan line with 32 claimants; and Baloi-Agus 6 line with 10 landowner-claimants.

Malacanang has just recently created the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Security of Energy Facilities (IATFSEF) that will primarily look at the ROW problems as well as bombing incidents of power transmission lines in Mindanao grid.

Among the initial steps to be carried out by the task force will be an inventory of the ROW problems that have been pestering the operations of the transmission facilities by concessionaire National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

From there, the Department of Energy-led task force will flesh out both legal and policy-abiding mechanisms on how to sort out the difference in valuation of the questioned properties along the power facilities.

Stakeholders in Mindanao are anxious again that their electricity service dilemmas may still not clear up despite the entry of new capacities from power plants — because of the new hurdles in the transmission lines.

Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Luwalhati Antonino has indicated that leaving things as they are now will be detrimental to consumers as well as businesses in Mindanao because they can be relentlessly threatened with power interruptions.

“The hesitance of the landowners to cooperate in solving the problem is becoming a serious drawback as NGCP’s personnel cannot enter the area of the damaged towers or lines,” said Antonino.

She added that the “transmission problems have dire consequences in Mindanao” – primarily in instances where attacks in them could isolate power plants from the grid.