Power restoration being prioritized‏ — NGCP

July 14, 2010 10:06 pm 

MANILA, July 14 — The whole Luzon grid suffered total blackout after the transmission system of the country tripped due to typhoon Basyang.

According to the National Grid Corp of the Philippines (NGCP), the country's operator of transmission highway, full restoration of power is not expected in the next three to four days.

The NGCP said the Luzon grid suffered total power failure around 12:42 am as a result of the damage caused by the typhoon on its transmission lines.

The NGCP reported during a news briefing that from 10pm to 12:25 am, nine of their major transmission lines bogged down and this are the Kalayaan-Gumaca 230kV (lines 1&2), Kalayaan-Malaya 230kV (lines 1&2), San Jose-Tayabas 500kV (lines 1& 2), Malaya-Dolores 230kV (lines 1&2), and Sucat-Araneta 230kV. Power plants, such as Malaya 1&2 (131 and 130 MW), Makban Units 3&4 (59 and 49 MW), and Quezon Power (130MW), autotripped because of the strong winds. Sual’s Unit 1, meanwhile, reduced its generation from 225 MW to zero prompting NGCP to automatically drop load from the plant.

With the damage, the NGCP who was ordered by Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras to immediately restore the power admitted that power supply in Metro Manila will be fully restored within two to three days.

Guillermo Redoblado, NGCP Senior Technical Adviser, said they target to restore more than 50 percent of the power in Luzon grid by the end of July 14.

As of 3PM (July 14), around 41 percent of the 5,488-MW total power load in Luzon grid has been restored. Masinloc-1 with 300-MW and Malaya-2 with 350-MW load are expected to be synchronized to the grid by 6PM and midnight, respectively.

Redoblado said by end of Wednesday, they expect 57 percent in the Luzon grid to be restored adding that more power plants like Sual-2 and Malaya-1 are expected to go online after completion of equipment tests. Meanwhile, Sucat-Araneta and Malaya-Dolores lines, which directly feed electricity to Meralco, have already been energized at 12:11PM and 12:30PM, respectively.

Supply in the South Luzon from Quezon to the Bicol Region were also restored at 2:29PM. Almost 100 linemen of the NGCP have been deployed to patrol and repair transmission facilities affected by Typhoon Basyang.

On the other hand, Redoblado asked the public to be patient. “The citizenry can do a lot today. They have to understand us that we are doing our best to restore power service. Typhoon Basyang had strong winds, thus some of lines were cut off. I also want to call the attention of advertisers as there were tarpaulins that got entangled with our lines. Right now, we hope we could speed up the inspection to be able to address the damages.”

Distribution giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco), meantime said about 20 percent of electricity had been restored in their franchise area and this include portions of Laguna (Canlubang, Calamba, Lisp); Ternate, Cavite ; Sta. Maria and Meycauayan Bulacan, and; portions of Metro Manila including Balintawak, Diliman, Kaybiga, Bagbaguin and Quezon City.

Redoblado noted that it would be too early to discuss possible rate impact as well as losses.

However, the National Transmission Corp. (TransCo), said one hour of blackout costs economic losses of about P175 million or could reach to more than P16 billion for four days.

When asked on their preparations, Redoblado said “Perhaps, we can only pray. Though we're replacing the deteriorated components and this is really a trial for us and we learn from this. We really have to hurry up the replacement. We're trying to meet the deadline before the typhoons hit again."

Secretary Almendras assured the public that the Department of Energy (DOE) remained to be on top the situation.

“The energy family has been on red alert since yesterday. I personally met at National Power Corp. (Napocor) yesterday to discuss the dam levels and the operating protocols in case of overflow to ensure 6 hours flood warning. Last night, I was monitoring NGCP operations the Luzon wide shutdown was inevitable because of massive tripping caused by transmission line problems.”

He said they've been doing all they can to restore supply of power to the grid.

“I was very happy that at 3PM, the blackstart plants came online as this meant the restart of generating capacities since then things have been improving. My immediate mandate to NGCP and Meralco early this morning was to energize LRT to MRT, which was significantly achieved by mid-day. Now we are prioritizing service restoration at the distribution levels since national grid substation were energized before noon. I compliment the generating utilities the national grid and distribution utilities for the dedication to restore service as soon as possible,” the energy chief said.

Joe Zaldarriaga, Meralco's external affairs manager said restoration of electricity to their franchise area would be dependent on the NGCP’s restoration efforts.

“We will provide power to our customers depending on the supply coming from NGCP,” Zaldarriaga said. “As supply comes and based on our system capability, we will be distributing it to our franchise area.”

But Zaldarriaga said “Our crews have been working round the clock to restore power in affected areas. We would like to ensure first, too, that all obstructions have been cleared in some areas, like toppled trees and billboards, before we restore power to assure the safety of everyone. However, we are also constrained in our restoration work as some transmission facilities were affected by the strong winds. This results in limited power that we can distribute at the moment. We would, however, continue to coordinate with all concerned parties to be able to restore power at the soonest and most reasonable time possible.” (PNA)

DCT/MSN/rsm

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