Power in Mindanao back to normal

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- Power transmission service in Mindanao is now back to normal after all substations of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) that were connected to the backbone lines in the island were linked to the grid Thursday afternoon.

The NGCP said in its 4:30 p.m. bulletin though that it is still determining the cause of the Mindanao-wide blackout early morning Thursday that affected various areas in the island.

Among the areas affected were the provinces of Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, North Cotabato, Bukidnon, Maguindanao, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and the cities of Davao, Zamboanga, Butuan, General Santos, and Cagayan de Oro.

The NGCP said it will issue a statement when investigation is completed.

Investigation has also been done by the Department of Energy (DOE) after the Malacañang ordered DOE Secretary Jericho Petilla to determine the cause of the power blackout.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said earlier that the DOE has yet to provide the Palace a report regarding the cause of the tripping, as its priority is to restore the power supply in those areas affected.

"DOE's priority is to get power back and they will investigate the cause of the blackout after," she said.

Petilla reported earlier that 70 percent of the Mindanao grid was already back to its original capacity.

"They cannot pinpoint the cause of the tripping right now but will work on finding it once power is restored," said Valte.

The NGCP reported that Mindanao experienced loss of power at 3:53 a.m.

Transmission service was first restored, around 9:30 a.m., in Davao City, General Santos City, Zamboanga City, Pagadian City, Cagayan de Oro City, and parts of Misamis Oriental.

Power in Kidapawan City, host of Mt. Apo geothermal power plant, was restored at 10:11 a.m., the Philippine News Agency reported.

Ivy Henson, speaking for the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) that runs the Mt. Apo geothermal plant, said that prior to the grid disturbance that affect most of Mindanao, the plants were operating normally at base-load capacity.

Like NGCP, Henson said EDC has no idea what triggered the massive power interruption in the island.

But Santiago Tudio, general manager of the South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I), said the NGCP earlier informed them that the cause of the outage has initially been traced to the transmission lines connecting the National Power Corporation’s hydroelectric plants in Bukidnon to the Mindanao power grid.

He said the NGCP advisory did not indicate any problem with the power plants but only with the transmission lines.

“The line somewhere in Bukidnon reportedly collapsed. They (NGCP) could not yet confirm the exact spot of the fault as their workers are still trying to locate it as of this time,” he said in a radio interview.

In a text message to Sun.Star, Captain Rowena Muyuela, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command, said there has been a technical problem on power generation, causing the blackout.

She denied allegations that there was sabotage, saying: "It is not a security breach, hence we should not be alarmed nor believe in speculations of sabotage." (SDR/Third Anne Peralta/PNA/Sunnex)

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