More power outages seen in Mindanao as bombed transmission tower remains unrepaired
COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) warned the public on Wednesday of more power outages in Mindanao as it declared a “red alert” due to the limited power supply in the Mindanao grid.
The NGCP issued the red alert status from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, with contingency reserves at zero megawatt due to the isolation of the National Power Corporation-owned generating facilities Agus 1 and 2 hydropower plants, Melfrance Capulong of the NGCP-Southern Mindanao said.
Agus 1 and 2 hydro facilities are connected to the grid through the Agus 2-Kibawe 138kV line.
Capulong said the NGCP has not restored the bombed NGCP Tower #25 along the Agus 2- Kibawe 138KV line in Ramain, Lanao del Sur, due to uncooperative land owners.
“The line has been unserviceable since Christmas Eve when it was bombed by unidentified lawless elements,” she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
She said the owners of the property where the tower has been erected, Mr. Johnny Sambitori, Mr. Intan Sambitori and Mr. Naguib Sambitori, refused NGCP entry to repair the damaged transmission facility.
Capulong said negotiations with the Sambitoris were unsuccessful because the owners alleged that the government failed to pay their claims for years now.
“Mindanao is facing a possible grid collapse if the situation persists since there is only one line remaining to deliver power from the Agus Hydro Complex, the Maramag-Bunawan 138-kV line,” Capulong said.
“If the said line is in any way compromised, no power will flow from the remaining Agus hydro facilites to south of Mindanao where the bulk of power demand is located,” she said, adding it created an imbalance between the North and South portions of Mindanao.
“The resulting imbalance between the North and South portions of Mindanao may cause the system to collapse. Both Davao City and General Santos City are located in the south, and are in real danger of being completely cut off from the bulk supply coming from the hydro facilites,” she said.
A 30-minute power outage hit Cotabato City and Maguindanao area Wednesday afternoon at 1:12 p.m. after NGCP lines tripped off.
NGCP is appealing to the public, the local and national goverments, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to help monitor the safety of the towers so that transmission services remain uninterrupted.
The company also appeals to local community leaders to help identify the perpetrators of the bombings, and to negotiate with uncooperative landowners, to prevent longer power interruptions.
Earlier, the Armed Forces vowed to secure NGCP steel towers in areas where lawless elements operate, specifically North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.
Outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a Moro guerilla group in Maguindanao and North Cotabato, that had been blamed for previous tower bombings, offered to help secure the facility.
“We will voluntarily help because we too are consumers and repair costs are passed on to consumers of every toppled tower,” Abu Misri Mama, BIFF spokesperson, told the Inquirer in the vernacular.
The NGCP power outlook for January 6 pegged the available capacity at 1,546 megawatts and a system peak of 1,466 MW or a reserve of 80 MW. SFM
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