NGCP warns of ‘probable grid collapse’ in Mindanao

by Myrna Velasco – January 6, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

System operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has warned of probable grid collapse and prolonged brownouts if bombing of its transmission facilities would not be abated.

“Mindanao is facing a probable grid collapse if the situation persists since there is only one line remaining to deliver power from the Agus hydropower complex – the 138-kilovolt Maramag-Bunawan line,” the transmission firm has noted.

The company added “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.”

In particular, it noted that “both Davao City and General Santos City are located in the South, and are in real danger of being completely cut off from the bulk supply coming from the hydro facilities.”

The bombed transmission line servicing Agus 1 and 2 plants had been “unserviceable since Christmas Eve when it was bombed by unidentified lawless elements.”

NGCP has noted that failed negotiations with landowners of which property is straddled by transmission facilities had been hobbling restoration efforts on the power lines.

“The owners of the property where the tower is located – Johnny, Intan and Naguib Sambitori – refused NGCP entry to repair the damaged transmission facility,” the transmission firm has reiterated.

It stressed that “negotiations with the Sambitoris were unsuccessful because the owners alleged that government failed to pay their claims long ago.”

Just two weeks ago, two towers of NGCP – including that of tower #25 – had been downed by bombings orchestrated by anarchic elements and this cut off the Agus 1 and 2 hydropower plants from the grid’s supply.

“As a result, as much as 150 megawatts of power had been isolated from Mindanao consumers,” the company said.

NGCP has emphasized that longer rotational power interruptions may be expected then for the affected areas in the island.

“Failure to restore the tower will aggravate the supply deficiency in the region,” the transmission company has stressed further.

The transmission firm thus reiterated its appeal to the public and consumers as well as law enforcement agencies – primarily the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines – “to help monitor the safety of the towers so that transmission services remain uninterrupted.”

It likewise extended its plea to the local government officials and community leaders in Mindanao “to help identify the perpetrators of the bombings to prevent longer power interruptions.”