Power failure halts trains, leaves Palace, other offices without electricity

5 power plants go on unscheduled shutdown, NGCP says

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MANILA, Philippines – A power outage hit part of Metro Manila and provinces in Luzon on Wednesday as five major power plants in the island went on unscheduled
shutdowns due to a “tripping” of transmission lines.

The outage, which began 2 p.m., meant a loss of 3,700 megawatts of power supply, representing 45 percent of Luzon’s total peak electricity requirements, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla said in a press briefing.

Petilla identified these five power plants as the Sual coal-fired power facility in Pangasinan, owned by Japanese-led Team Energy and managed by the energy arm of San Miguel Corp.; Korea Electric Power Corp.’s Ilijan gas-fired facility, which is also being managed by San Miguel; First Gen Corp.’s Sta. Rita and San Lorenzo natural gas plants; and the Quezon Power Philippines Ltd., which is majority-owned by Thailand’s Egco.

Petilla, however, was quick to rule out “sabotage” in the outage of these power plants, adding that there is no indication that this was an “election-related” event.

The energy chief stressed that the cause of the power outage was the tripping of transmission lines that began at the Ilijan unit, the effect of which cascaded to the other plants. This means that it will be easier to restore power as repairs for transmission lines usually take only a few hours to complete as opposed to having problems in the
power plant itself, the repairs of which often last for weeks or  months.

Petilla further downplayed the likelihood that the outage of the five plants would happen again.

“The likelihood of five power plants bogging down is extremely unlikely and it did not happen today (Wednesday) because it’s the lines that caused the brownouts,” Petilla said.

“Even if this happens on Monday, it will not affect the [electoral] process, because the PCOS machines can run on battery that can last 10 to 12 hours. But that’s the worst case scenario, that we have no power until the closing at 7p.m.,” Petilla further said.

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