NGCP isn't only to blame for Panay blackout, says lawmaker

Blackouts in Panay: NGCP, MORE Electric both to blame, says solon

/ 10:57 AM January 04, 2024

NGCP isn't only to blame for Panay blackout, says lawmaker

NGCP power lines (File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Blackouts gripped Panay Island and a lawmaker believes the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) isn’t the only one to blame.

For ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, the power distribution firm MORE Electric and Power Corporation is also responsible for the power outages in the region.


According to the legislator, the people of Panay Island and parts of the Negros Island are suffering because power players in the area failed to prepare.


READ: Panay blackout takes toll on locals, business

Households in Panay Island went dark after multiple power plants shut down on Tuesday, January 2. In an advisory, the NCGP initially said only power plants in Panay Island ceased operating, but eventually, the entire Negros-Panay grid stopped.

“It is just the start of the year, but we are faced with this mess. Millions of Panay residents now are suffering from heat due to [a] lack of electricity because the power players failed to prepare for this incident. Classes are suspended and businesses are losing profit,” Castro said in Filipino.

“As it is though it is not just the power generators’ and NGCP’s fault, the distribution utility (DU), namely MORE Electric and Power Corporation of the Razon group of companies, is also responsible for this,” she added.

READ: Power outage hits Panay Island

Castro raised questions about MORE’s mechanisms to protect the Panay-Negros grid from collapsing, adding that this issue should be investigated as it is not the first time that consumers have encountered problems.


“Since MORE Power’s takeover of the distribution utility [on] the island, what has it done to improve its distribution infrastructure backbone, and does it have seamless coordination with the system grid operator and the generators?” she asked.

“Does it even have a system to help protect the grid from collapsing like a load-dropping mechanism? This already happened last year, and then we saw a repeat. I hope they can immediately address this because if not, it should warrant an investigation,” she added. has sought the side of MORE Power in Iloilo, but they have not responded as of posting time.

Castro is not the first lawmaker to suggest the need for an investigation into the matter. On Wednesday, Iloilo City Rep. Julienne Baronda said the House of Representatives must exercise its oversight function and investigate the power outages.

“The power outages that set the entire Panay Island and portions of Negros Island into darkness since yesterday warrant scrutiny by the House of Representatives in the exercise of its Congressional oversight function to safeguard public welfare,” Baronda said.

READ: Iloilo City mayor hits NGCP over Panay Island blackouts: I don’t know what it’s doing

“During the committee hearing last Aug. 2023, I strongly pushed for the implementation of the interconnection of the Luzon and Visayas Grids that would pass through Mindoro as one of the measures to address the power problem on Panay Island,” she added.

NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza explained on Tuesday that 302 megawatts (MW) of power was lost to the Visayas grid due to the tripping of the plants, while 150 MW was lost because of planned maintenance shutdowns.

“Currently, none of the power plants in Panay Island are generating power. At 3:07 p.m., Panay Island was isolated from the rest of the Visayas grid,” Alabanza said.

On Wednesday, NGCP said there should be better resource planning and a whole-of-industry approach to the country’s energy generation to avoid such incidents.

READ: NGCP asserts need for better resource planning after Panay power outage

This comes after NGCP admitted that unscheduled maintenance shutdowns were the cause of the power interruption.

“The unscheduled maintenance shutdowns of the largest power plants in Panay Island were the primary cause of the power interruption. We emphasize the need for improved planning to ensure sufficient generation per island, with a well-balanced mix of fuels and technology,” NGCP said in its statement.

Several businesses have already complained about the power cut, with no less than Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas saying the disruption was “nothing short of economic sabotage.”

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READ: Government asked to prevent huge power blackout in Panay Island

TAGS: More, Negros, NGCP, Panay Island power outage

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