Right-of-way delays transmission line repairs

by Myrna Velasco, 22 August 2015
from Manila Bulletin

Visayas grid is also a problematic terrain for the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) when it comes to right-of-way (ROW) and access concerns to its facilities – including a case involving repair of transmission lines in the area.

It pointed to one ‘uncooperative landowner’ being the major ‘delaying factor’ in the repair of the 69-kilovolt Sta. Barbara-Sibalom line that tripped last August 7.

 In a statement to the media, NGCP has noted that despite some hurdles it was still able to restore “the power transmission services to 15 municipalities in Iloilo and Antique” just two days after August 9.

The damage to the line, it was explained, was due to a “toppled structure in Barangay Mambog in Oton, Iloilo.”

While one portion of the line – the Santa Barbara-San Miguel section was immediately restored, the repair of the entire line had been hobbled for some time.

 NGCP said that such could have been swiftly completed “had a landowner immediately allowed the inspection and repair of the toppled structure within his property.”

The transmission firm has emphasized that “despite negotiations and repeated pleas, the landowner did not immediately allow NGCP’s line personnel to enter his property.”

 That then delayed the restoration of electricity service to end-users served by the Iloilo Electric Cooperative I and Antique Electric Cooperative, which had been adversely affected by the consequent power outages.

NGCP albeit relayed that “the landowner finally relented and let NGCP linemen in the property evening of August 8.”

 The company has reiterated that “power interruptions and accidents cannot be entirely avoided…but we can only conduct our maintenance and expansion programs if we are allowed unimpeded access to the facility sites.”

Right-of-way and access to facilities have been a perennial problem to NGCP’s service operations as well as on its network improvement endeavors, and the lack of firm policy easing that typically renders the consumers part of the collateral damage in the process.