Mindanao faces ‘grid collapse’

by Alena Mae S. Flores – January 06, 2016 at 11:50 pm

from Manila Standard

Power transmission operator National Grid Corp. of the Philippines warned about a possible “grid collapse” in Mindanao, where red alert was declared again Wednesday.

A grid collapse would mean longer blackout for the power-starved region, it said.

Davao City and General Santos City are in “real danger of being completely cut off” from power supplies, it said.

NGCP, in an advisory, cited the uncooperative landowners as the reason behind the supply deficiency in Mindanao. NGCP was trying to repair a damaged transmission tower, which cut the line from two major hydroelectric plants.

Two units of the Agus hydroelectric power complex with a combined capacity of 150 megawatts were isolated from the grid after unidentified men bombed Tower 25 in Ramain, Lanao del Sur province on Christmas Eve. National Grid said it was unable to restore the facility after the owners of the property refused entry due to payment issues.

“NGCP again put Mindanao on red alert from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. [Wednesday] with contingency reserves at zero megawatts due to the isolation of the Napocor-owned generating facilities Agus 1 and Agus 2 hydro power plants,” it said.

The hydro plants are connected to the grid through the Agus 2-Kibawe 138 kV line.

NGCP said the owners of the property where the tower is located—Johnny Sambitori, Intan Sambitori and Naguib Sambitori—refused entry to NGCP personnel who were deployed to repair the damaged transmission facility.

“Negotiations with the Sambitoris were unsuccessful because the owners alleged that the government failed to pay their claims a long time ago,” it said.

“Mindanao is facing a possible grid collapse if the situation persists since there is only one line remaining to deliver power from the Agus hydro complex, the Maramag-Bunawan 138 kV line,” National Grid said.

The company expressed concern that if the said line “is in any way compromised, no power will flow from the remaining Agus hydro facilities to south of Mindanao where the bulk of power demand is located.”

Mindanao, home to a quarter of the Philippines’ more than 100 million people and the source of 40 percent of the nation’s food requirements, has suffered periodic power outages for years because its plants are aging and mostly hydroelectric facilities that can’t operate during droughts.

National Grid repeated its appeal to the public, local and national government, Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines to help monitor the safety of the towers so that transmission services would remain uninterrupted.

“The company also appeals to local community leaders to help identify the perpetrators of the bombings, and to negotiate with uncooperative landowners, to prevent longer power interruptions,” it said.