NGCP urges passage of law vs power lines encroachment

By Victor V. Saulon – December 27, 2018 | 9:57 pm
from Business World

PRIVATELY-OWNED National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has renewed its call for legislators to hasten the passage of the anti-power disturbance bill as it cited a number of recent right-of-way breaches that hampered power transmission.

In a statement on Thursday, the power system operator expressed concern about the recent space of violations, recorded mostly in November.

“We have been very serious in the conduct of our information and safety campaigns in the communities near our transmission facilities. But our efforts are often ignored because there is no legal consequence to breaching safety clearances,” the company said.

“These breaches in right-of-way not only threaten the reliability of the transmission system, causing unnecessary inconvenience to power customers, but also risks the lives of anyone involved or living near the area,” it added.

NGCP said on Nov. 13, the Nabunturan-Monkayo 69-kilovolt (kV) line tripped, resulting in an hour-long power interruption to customers of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative.

“It was discovered that a land owner harvested his falcata trees using a chainsaw, causing the falling tree to swing and hit the power cables of Towers 11 and 12 of the said line in Poblacion, Monte Vista, Compostela Valley. Power was eventually restored later after NGCP line crews remedied the situation,” it said.

On Nov. 15, the Sta. Barbara-San Jose 138-kV line in Iloilo went on emergency shutdown when an unidentified man was seen climbing one of the towers along the line, it said.

NGCP said several other 69-kV power lines in the area were also put on emergency shutdown to ensure the security of the transmission system and the safety of the person involved and the responders in the area.

“This resulted in power interruptions lasting a few hours affecting various parts of Iloilo and Antique. Power was restored when the area was cleared and declared safe for re-energization,” it said.

On Nov. 18, it recorded another incident when the Maco-Banaybanay 69-kV line in Compostela Valley tripped because of kaingin — the practice of clearing fields by burning — between Towers 259 and 260.

“Upon investigation, a witness claimed that it seemed like the fire was intentionally started to make way for planting of new crops,” it said.

NGCP said a tripping incident was recorded last month along the Mexico-Calumpit 69-kV line when a construction worker building a structure along McArthur Road, in San Simon, Pampanga accidentally swung a 18-foot steel bar reinforcement. The bar hit the line’s conductor, it said, adding that the victim suffered slight electric shock and caused a power interruption.

On Dec. 10, a similar incident also occurred in Batangas City when a construction worker was electrocuted when tubular metal scaffolding he was using to plaster a wall made contact with the Bolbok-Ma. Parang-Concepcion 13.8-kV line.

“He fell to the ground and was rushed to the hospital for treatment,” NGCP said.

Sponsored by Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, Senate Bill No. 2098 or the Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act of 2018 seeks to prevent obstructions and penalize the introduction of high-growing vegetation or hazardous improvements along power line corridors.

Representative Carlos R. Uybarreta, vice-chair of the House energy committee, sponsored the House version of the bill, which was passed on Sept. 25, 2017.