Cable damage sets back linking of Mindanao, Visayas power grids
ILIGAN CITY—The linking of the Mindanao and Visayas power grids suffered a setback after portions of the underwater cable laid out between Cebu and Zamboanga del Norte provinces were damaged.
In a statement, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said portions of the fiber optic cable connection between Santander town in Cebu and Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte were damaged.
The NGCP has been working to finish the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP) by the end of 2021 after its initial target completion date was moved from December 2020 due to the pandemic.
Upon completion, the MVIP will connect the Visayas and Mindanao grids through a high voltage direct current system with a 450-megawatt initial capacity.
The project covers 184 circuit kilometers of submarine cables and 526 circuit kilometers of overhead wires connecting Dapitan City and Santander.
The damaged cable was completely laid in mid-November 2020. The damage was discovered only when NGCP workers started laying the second cable.
An initial report showed that a vessel navigated the area a month after the cable-laying work was done. An investigation is underway to determine if that vessel caused the damage.
“This is an unfortunate circumstance which may delay the MVIP timeline. NGCP is working on a catch-up plan given the fragility of handling fiber optic submarine cables,” the company said.
NGCP explained that repair of the damage cable will require another round of procurement, awarding and scheduling of cable laying, all of which are are being disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions and the difficulty in bringing in foreign experts.
It added that cable-laying is also subject to weather changes and tide conditions.
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