Power unstable seen after NGCP tower hit

AFTER a month of having energy surplus, Mindanao suffered a setback beginning Thursday night following the bombing of one of the towers of National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) in Patani, Marawi City.

NGCP said in a statement that the tower was bombed at 9:20 pm last Thursday that led the two Agus complexes, which have combined capacity of 260 megawatts, to provide zero supply in the grid.

“Agus 1 (80 MW) and Agus 2 (180 MW) are isolated from the grid, causing power loss in several areas in the Mindanao grid,” the grid operator added, as it is presently conducting probe on the incident.

The grid operator vowed to restore the activities once the area is secured. In its data as of yesterday, the Mindanao grid was short by 79 megawatts with system capacity of only 1,357 megawatts.

The dry spell, Mindanao Development Authority said, also attributed on the low power supply of the island.

“The weather phenomenon has resulted to the reduced capacity of the APHC,” said MinDA in a statement, as Pulangui could only supply 60 MW from 144 MW while Agus could produce 214 MW.

The National Power Corp. (NPC) reported that as of yesterday, the water level in Pulangui IV was 282 meters above sea level (masl), which was below the minimum operating level of 285.5 masl.

Lake Lanao, which provides water to the six cascading Agus hydro power complexes, was operating at 699.86 masl, close to the lake’s minimum operating level of 699.15 masl.

“This was among the scenarios that the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee has discussed in a meeting last month to draw up measures to cushion the impact of the weather phenomenon to the power sector,” said Romeo M. Montenegro, head of public affairs division of MinDA.

Prior to this tight energy supply situation, the island was having energy surplus as Therma South Inc.’s coal fired power plant at a capacity of 150 MW began to commercially operate on Sept. 18.

2-hr brownouts

In a statement of Davao Light and Power Corp. (DLPC), this means that its franchise areas would suffer two hours of power interruptions. The distribution utility is servicing the cities of Davao and Panabo and municipalities of Carmen, Dujali and Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte.

With low supply of power, the utility cited that the NPC could only allocate 109 MW against its contracted supply of 273 MW. Although it has other sources like the power plants of Hedcor, Therma South Inc. and Therma Marine Inc., its franchise area is still short by 27 MW as the demand was 285 MW.

“Davao Light systems operations engineers are closely coordinating with the NGCP and the NPC/PSALM to get an hourly update on the power supply situation. The company will give its customers update if there’s any on any improvement in the power supply situation,” said DLPC.

Solving ROW problems

The NGCP, meanwhile, has sought assistance from the national government and Armed Forces of the Philippines as its right-of-way (ROW) issues breached critical level with the sustained tripping of Agus 2-Kibawe Line 1 on Oct. 17.

The transmission line, the grid operator said, tripped when a fallen tree cut the line conductors.

In line with this, the Department of Energy is appealing to the local government units and land owners to cooperate with the grid operator to resolve the issues on ROW and easements.

“To prevent unwarranted power supply disruptions and avoid power-related incidents to occur, distribution utilities and NGCP should be given right to access or traverse designated area of the real property to ensure that potential hazards are proactively managed before they encroached on the power lines,” said acting Energy Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada.

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