NGCP restores power in 15 Iloilo, Antique municipalities

by Lenie Lectura, 18 August 2015
from BusinessMirror

THE National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said it has fully restored power-transmission services to 15 municipalities in Iloilo and Antique.

The 69-kiloVolt Santa Barbara-Sibalom line tripped on August 7 due to a toppled structure in Barangay Mambog, Oton, Iloilo, NGCP said on Sunday. The line was restored the next day.

The repair of the entire line, however, could have been completed earlier had a landowner immediately allowed the inspection and repair of the toppled structure within his property.

NGCP said it told the landowner that the repair and correction work it intended to conduct was of an “urgent” nature, and must be immediately implemented.

Despite negotiations and repeated pleas, the landowner did not immediately allow NGCP’s line personnel to enter his property, thus delaying the restoration of power to customers in the franchise areas of Iloilo Electric Cooperative 1 and Antique Electric Cooperative, where the outage was experienced.

NGCP said the landowner finally relented and allowed the firm’s linemen in the property on the evening of August 8.

“Restoration times can be substantially shortened if NGCP gets the cooperation of everyone involved, especially the concerned landowners. The cooperation of landowners themselves is most crucial to having safe and reliable power,” NGCP said.

NGCP legally holds the rights-of-way in areas traversed by its high-voltage lines in Panay, but the uncooperative landowner in this case is claiming unpaid compensation from the time when the line was still operated and maintained by the government-owned National Power Corp.

“NGCP is really in a difficult situation. We have the mandate to operate, maintain and expand the national transmission grid. When it comes to grid operations and maintenance, we are responsible. But the rights-of-way over a great majority of the facilities we run were obtained by the government,” NGCP said. “Under our concession agreement, these rights-of-way for existing facilities are to be handled by the government. So, in a way, we are held hostage by uncooperative landowners,” it added.

NGCP said the incident was not the first time its operations have been hampered by landowners who refuse company employees access to grid facilities owned by the government. “In many situations, restoration, repair and maintenance of facilities are hampered by uncooperative citizens. The direct and immediate negative effect is that hundreds of households suffer longer periods of power interruptions than they have to,” the company said. NGCP is a privately owned firm in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s power grid. It transmits high-voltage electricity through “power superhighways” that include the interconnected system of transmission lines, towers, substations and related assets.

The consortium, which holds the 25-year concession contract to operate the country’s power transmission network, is comprised of Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp., Calaca High Power Corp. and the State Grid Corp. of China as technical partner.