Lightning triggers 24-hour blackout in Legazpi CityBy Mar S. Arguelles
Inquirer Southern Luzon
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Philippines — Lightning struck a transformer of a power substation of a local electric cooperative here on Sunday afternoon, causing a 24-hour blackout in the northern part of the city, a top official of the cooperative said Monday.
The northern part of the city is the location of local government offices and an oil refinery plant.
Paul Lopez, acting general manager of the Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco), said in an interview that the lightning struck, at around 4:20 p.m., damaging the 10 MVA (megavolt ampere) transformer of the power sub-station in Barangay Bitano.
He said the lightning hit one of the two transformers supplying the northern villages, affecting 16 of the city’s 70 villages, the government offices at the regional center site and the Legazpi Oil refinery plant-—both in Barangay Rawis here.
Lopez assured consumers that electricity would be restored at around 5 p.m. Monday after technical personnel hired to evaluate the extent of damage and conduct repair work found out that the transformer only sustained minor damage.
He said personnel from the Gigantic Electrical and Mechanical Contractor Inc. (Gemco) found out that “the oil or lubricant inside the transformer only needs to be changed. The unit is now at the shop for oil refilling.”
Lopez said the power sharing with other substations and two-hour rotating brownouts would no longer take place as planned earlier to ease concerns of the 5,000 households in the city’s 16 villages.
Aleco has two power sub-stations operating in this city – the substation in Barangay Bitano, which has two transformers with a combined 30 MVA capacity, and the substation in Barangay Washington which has two transformers with a combined capacity of 15 MVA.
Lilian Guillermo, chief of the Meteorological Office of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services, said in a phone interview that a series of “fork” lightning (a type of lightning that directly hits the ground) struck Sunday between 2 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
She said the series of lightning bolts was triggered by a thunderstorm spawned by a cumulus-nimbus cloud in parts of Albay on Sunday.