Power sector meet seeks solution to Mindanao grid woes

Feb. 03, 2016

DAVAO CITY – Power sector leaders will convene in Davao City on Thursday, February 4, to address several problems harrowing the Mindanao grid, the island’s socio-economic planning agency said.

“This meeting is crucial as it will allow us to craft plans and initiatives that will mitigate and prevent similar transmission-related problems in the future,” Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, Mindanao Development Authority chair, said on Wednesday, February 3.

Luwalhati said members of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC) are expected to gather at MinDA’s headquarters here “to find long-term solutions” to the grid which was placed on yellow alert in January due to insufficient power supply.

Apart from MinDA, MPMC is comprised of representatives from the following agencies:

  • Department of Energy
  • Energy Regulatory Commission
  • National Electrification Administration
  • National Power Corporation
  • Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management
  • Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives
  • National Transmission Corporation
  • Mindanao Electric Power Alliance
  • National Grid Corporation of the Philippines

Right-of-way, easements, attacks

The meeting has been deemed urgent, said Antonino, as leaders from the energy sector are bent on solving factors affecting the grid’s stability: right-of-way (ROW), easements of the transmission lines, and the recent bombings.

In January this year, NGCP reported that 18 towers experienced security attacks, with the latest incidents involving towers No. 19, 20, 21, 13, 25 and 50 of the Agus 2-Kibawe 138 KV transmission lines. Transmission tower No. 4 of the Baloi-Agus 2 138 KV transmission lines and the transmission tower No. 63 of Kabacan-Sultan Kudarat 138 KV transmission lines also experienced security attacks.

“The recent attacks on towers No. 20 and 25 created a dent in the power supply of Mindanao, which isolated the Agus 1 and 2 hydropower plants that produce about 260 megawatts (MW),” Antonino said.

To date, the two towers have not yet been repaired due to issues of land ownership. The isolation of the hydropower plants has also caused rotational power interruption in different franchise areas in Mindanao. In addition to the attacks, issues on the ROWs and the hesitance of the land owners to cooperate are seen to further aggravate the problem.

“There are five lines that are out of operation due to the unwillingness of landowners to cooperate and the growing vegetation under the lines,” said Antonino.

“The hesitance of the landowners to cooperate in solving the problem is also becoming a serious drawback as NGCP’s personnel cannot enter the area of the damaged towers or lines,” she added.

Mindanao grid’s gross reserve is seen to reach 30 megawatts (MW) for Thursday, February 4. Two days ago it went down to a negative 32 MW. (davaotoday.com)

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