by Myrna Velasco – April 29, 2016
from Manila Bulletin
Transmission facilities are crucial in power system operations because they could trigger blackouts in an entire grid, thus, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has been renewing its plea to the public to help safeguard these vital assets especially during the critical election period.
Energy Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada has similarly indicated that securing the transmission facilities will be a continuing challenge even beyond the scheduled May 2016 elections.
She thus noted that NGCP is being enjoined to sort out some mechanisms on how it could settle its right-of-way (ROW) problems on such assets in a legal and acceptable way.
The ROW problems have gotten worse in the previous months because of the seeming ‘intended planting’ of trees beneath transmission lines and other vital installations.
With proliferating vegetation, the landowners would generally demand exorbitant amounts that NGCP tends to thumb down because such redounds to vicious trick of asking for premiums.
NGCP suffered series of attacks on its transmission facilities last December – it had been that serious that even the Agus 1 and 2 hydropower plants had been isolated from the grid.
It took until March this year for the generating facilities to get back on-line, hence, aggravating power interruptions in some parts of Mindanao in the first quarter.
Given these circumstances, NGCP noted that it is renewing “urgent appeal to the public, host communities and its leaders in safeguarding transmission facilities.”
It averred that this is “in light of reports of increased terrorist activity, especially in Mindanao.”
The transmission firm added that it continues “to closely coordinate with the local and national government, community leaders and the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) to help monitor the security of towers so that transmission services remain uninterrupted.”
It also called on the public “to report suspicious and unlawful activities at or near transmission facilities.”