Power outages may affect Mindanao elections—NGCP

by Alena Mae S. Flores – April 26, 2016 at 11:45 pm

from Manila Standard Today

Elections in Mindanao may be affected by power supply disruption unless right of way issues are addressed to fix transmission towers, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines said Tuesday.

“There will be a possible vulnerability in the Mindanao grid,” National Grid spokesman Cynthia Perez-Alabanza told reporters.

She said several land owners in Mindanao remained uncooperative and refused National Grid personnel entry into their properties for the conduct of clearing operations prior to the elections.

“We have cleared about half of the claimants. We have several land owners who remained uncooperative. They have refused to soften their stand. We had requested support from the DoE, DILG and Comelec but it is moving more slowly than we expected,” Alabanza said.

Alabanza said 29 claimants in Mindanao were seeking government compensation for the use of their land for the transmission facilities.

“There were 29 identified claimants.  Out of that we’ve settled 16. We resorted to asking the assistance of LGU and national government.  We are hoping that out of the 13, we can settle seven,” she said.

She said some of the land owners were asking for unreasonable compensation for their land.

“NGCP has to be very prudent in its operation so we cannot just give in to whimsical demands. This affects supply in Mindanao,” she said.

National Grid said several critical transmission lines needed to be secured to ensure reliable flow of electricity in the region.

National Grid wants to enter the property where the transmission lines and towers are located and clear vegetation in the area that could cause line tripping.

“When we go and implement our clearing strategy, we are hoping that there will be understanding from the personalities. NGCP has always been willing and ready to ensure transmission facilities are operating at their optimum… We are still exhausting all efforts to settle,” Alabanza said.

“The reserve for Mindanao is very low. If you stand to lose 50 to 70 MW from  two plants (Agus 1 and 2), it would be a significant loss,” she said.

Alabanza said that with less than two weeks before the elections, National Grid should step up and clear those lines.

“We are always trying to seek less hostile means and we are trying to negotiate. We gave a deadline last week but if they continue to be uncooperative then we will have to seek the help of the AFP and PNP,” she said.

Mindanao is expected to have power reserves of 370 MW during the election period, as power plants including the hydros come back online.

“It looks good but again we are making appeal that if we leave things be, we will not have any problem. People are seemingly planting trees maliciously,” Alabanza said.