ZAMBOANGA CITY, May 15 – Western Mindanao was plunged into darkness Sunday for more than six hours due to a massive power outage.
The power outage started at 8:38 p.m. Sunday and was fully restored at 3 a.m. Monday.
In an advisory Monday, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) blamed landslides and floods in Lanao del Norte, triggered by continuous heavy rains, for the power interruption.
“An eroded coconut tree hit the conductors between towers along Abaga-Aurora 138-kilovolt (KV) line in Barangay San Vicente, Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte. Continuous heavy rains prevailed in the area causing flash floods and landslides,” it said.
Elizabeth Ladaga, NGCP spokesperson, said the incident left two other lines, the Agus 5-Aurora 138-kv and Baloi-Aurora 138-kv, to trip due to power overloading.
Sunday night’s incident was the second major power interruption to hit the entire Zamboanga Peninsula, Misamis Occidental and parts of Lanao del Norte this month.
The first was on May 4 that affected the Agus 5-Aurora 138-kv line and Baloi-Aurora 138-kv line due to “maliciously planted trees.” These lines connects Western Mindanao to the Mindanao grid
Ladaga told the Philippines News Agency that “unbridled tree vegetation underneath power lines” had been a perennial problem, especially in Lanao areas.
The trees, during strong or stormy winds, can topple NGCP transmission and cable lines, especially those in mountainous areas.
For its part, the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) immediately requested Western Mindanao Power Corporation (WMPC) to provide Zamcelco 50 megawatts (MW) to provide temporary relief to local power consumers.
The WMPC of the Alsons Power Group owns a 100-MW diesel power plant in Barangay Sangali, this city.
Engr. Edgardo Ancheta, Zamcelco general manager, said in a separate interview that they also utilized the 16 MW generators of the cooperative.
“Fortunately, the power demand on Sunday night was around 50 to 60 MW,” he said.
The average daily power demand of this city is around 103 MW.
(TPGJR/Darwin Wally T. Wee/PNA)