Update: 41% power restored in Metro Manila, Luzon

July 14, 2010 10:06 pm 

MANILA, July 14 -– Forty-one percent of electric power has been restored in Luzon on Wednesday afternoon, several hours after typhoon “Basyang” has left the country, the National Power Grid Corporation (NPGC) said.

NPGC officials said as of 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, more than 5,488 megawatt total power load in the Luzon Grid has been restored.

Masinloc 1 with 300 MW load are expected to be synchronized to the grid by 6 p.m. Wednesday.

By midnight, approximately 57 percent of the power load in Luzon grid would have been restored but more power plants such as Sual 2 and Malaya 1 are expected to go online after completion of equipment tests, the NPGC said.

They also said billions of pesos worth of economic losses, disruption of operations at vital installations and extreme inconvenience to the public will ensue as the entire Luzon grid braces for massive blackouts that will likely last for two to three days, triggered by the onslaught of “Basyang.”

Estimates given by NGCP to recover from the system blackout and to restore power supply for the entire Luzon grid will be “two to three days,” hinged on what they termed as “conservative estimate”.

NGCP senior technical adviser Guillermo Redoblado noted that the incident was “unforeseen” because the forecasts given by the weather bureau never hinted Metro Manila getting extremely hit by the typhoon, the first strong one to hit the country this year.

Redoblado attempted to play down speculations that the transmission concessionaire is not well-equipped yet at the scale on emergency-handling of such situations, hence, the power supply restoration from the blackouts has been taking longer than expected.

The system blackout started 12:42am on Wednesday (July 14). And, as of 12 noon Wednesday, the NGCP was just able to reinstate 27-percent of its system load.

Out of the 4,500 megawatts needed to fully restore power supply for Metro Manila and the rest of the franchise of Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the system load wheeled to the distribution utility’s system as of 1:00pm was still at 765MW.

The NGCP noted that prior to system blackout, there were initial line trippings at its 230-kilovolt Kalayaan-Gumaca and Kalayaan-Malaya lines at 10:01 pm on Tuesday (July 13); and had cascading effect on other lines tripping between 10:19pm until the declaration of system blackout at 12:42 am.

The system operator, in its update report to media after 12 noon, noted that “all NGCP substations in Metro Manila, including Araneta, Duhat, Balintawak and Sucat, have already been energized.”

It added that all these substations are directly connected to Meralco, hence, enabling the country’s largest power distribution firm to start restoring supply in its franchise area.

The order of reinstating power supply will start with vital installations in Metro Manila, including businesses, airports and rail transit systems, among others.

Meralco said power in most of Metro Manila and nearby provinces will be back within the day, hours after strong winds spawned by Typhoon Basyang sent billboards and trees crashing down on power lines.

“The power supply we are getting is still not enough," Dina Lomotan, corporate communications head of Meralco, said.

She said that as of 10 a.m., Meralco has received 580 megawatts of electricity, which accounts for about "10 percent" of the average power supply that the power distributor gets on a daily basis.

Lomotan assured the public that power would be restored within the day in majority of the households and establishments in their service area.

Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said they are coordinating with the NGCP to expedite power restoration works. (PNA)

DCT/JCA

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