Newly repaired transmission tower bombed again

by Lenie LecturaMay 4, 2016

from Business Mirror

A TRANSMISSION tower, which took almost three months to repair owing to right-of-way (ROW) issues with landowners, was again bombed, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said on Wednesday.

NGCP Tower 25 of the Agus 2-Kibawe 138 kiloVolt (kV) line in Linamon, Ramain, Lanao del Sur, was reportedly bombed and toppled in the evening of May 3.

It may be recalled that Tower 25 was bombed on December 24, 2015. Restoration of the tower took almost three months because uncooperative claimant of the land where it stands, the Sambitory family, refused NGCP access to the tower to conduct repairs.

This is the sixth bombing of NGCP towers this year. Restoration of Tower 25 will start, as soon as the area is secured. In 2015 at least 18 power-transmission towers were either toppled or damaged in bombings.

The company said that the bombings only serve to increase the burden of the public, which must suffer through service interruptions when towers are bombed.

Meanwhile, a crucial transmission line was energized after clearing right-of-way obstructions.

NGCP said the crucial Agus 2-Baloi 138-kV line was energized after implementation of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution 10067, which authorizes the company, with the help of other government agencies, to clear its transmission lines.

The resolution authorizes NGCP to conduct ROW clearing in time for the May elections.

“NGCP is pleased to report that at 7 p.m. of May 3 we have successfully energized the Agus 2-Baloi line after invoking the Comelec resolution and with the assistance of government and law-enforcement agencies during the clearing operations,” NGCP said.

However, the company said that this is only one of eight lines identified as critical in Mindanao that continue to be plagued by uncooperative land claimants demanding exorbitant amounts.

“It is unfortunate that some of these claimants are preventing us from conducting line maintenance activities on the basis of land payment claims properly address to the Nation Transmission Corporation [Transco]. Others demand exorbitant amounts as payment for improvements deliberately built under the lines,” the company added.

“NGCP  would have wanted all eight lines cleared before the elections to fully mitigate any power related issues,” the company said.

The seven other lines identified as critical are: Agus 2-Kibawe 138-kV Lines, Agus 1-Agus 2 138-kV Line, Baloi-Agus 6 138-kV Lines, Baloi-Agus 6 69-kV Line, Baloi-Tagoloan 138-kV Lines, Baloi-IDPP 138-kV Line, and Baloi-Aurora 138-kV Lines.

NGCP also urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue a blanket authority and special permit to cut intentionally and maliciously planted trees along transmission line corridors.

The blanket authority, if issued, will support and help expedite NGCP’s efforts in clearing deliberately planted trees underneath transmission lines which cause line outages and power interruptions.

To date, the DENR already issued Tree Cutting Permit R10-TCP-14-07-10122016 authorizing the cutting of trees along the Agus 2-Baloi 138-kV line, traversing the towns of Pantar and Balo-I, Lanao del Norte.

However, this covers only one out of eight lines in Mindanao identified as critical because of ROW issues.

Permits are likewise needed for the 83 transmission lines in 79 municipalities throughout the country that remain vulnerable to transmission related power interruptions.

“Uncooperative land claimants refuse our line personnel access to the properties for the conduct of clearing and maintenance activities.

Any and all forms of government support to address violations of line safety clearances, particularly maliciously planted trees, will facilitate the efficient delivery of power transmission services to our customers in Mindanao and the rest of the country,” stated NGCP.