Long power, water outages hit Davao

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Friday, February 28, 2014

DAVAO CITY experienced on Thursday prolonged city-wide power and water interruptions brought by a power disturbance that hit the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

At 3:53 a.m. on Thursday, Mindanao experienced an island-wide blackout, but as of 6 p.m., the NGCP is "still determining the cause" of the power disturbance.

The city experienced a nine-hour power interruption, which started from 3:35 a.m. until 12:26 p.m. when power was totally restored. The Davao City Water District, on the other hand, has yet to restore water supply in some parts of the city as of 6 p.m. Thursday.

Power outage in Mindanao
An engineer of NCCC Mall in Matina, Davao City looks after the huge generator sets following Thursday's city-wide power interruption caused by power disturbance experienced by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines. (King Rodriguez)


NGCP spokesperson Cynthia D. Perez-Alabanza, in a phone interview with Sun.Star Davao, said NGCP was not the reason for the island-wide blackout.

"Yung na monitor na disturbance, nawala ang kuryente. Hindi po kami gumawa niyon, nangyari lang po iyon. Ang ginawa namin is nakipag-coordinate kami sa power plants at sinusubukan po namin ibalik ng isa't isa yung kaya ng tumakbo," Alabanza said.

She said as early as 6 a.m., some areas in Mindanao have already been energized.

Alabanza said the cause is still being determined and they will not release a statement yet as to what probably caused the power outage.

"Hindi lang NGCP ang involved dito pati po yung ibang power suppliers kagaya ng distribution utilities," she said.

Alabanza said NGCP's focus right now is the restoration of electricity on the island. She said they hope to restore everything fully as soon as possible.

She said NGCP has deployed teams as early as 4 a.m. to check on the grid. The incident is also being closely monitored in their systems operations in Cagayan de Oro.

A statement issued by the Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC), a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power, said the company "immediately implemented contingency measures and within minutes power supply were received from its embedded power sources" -- the standby Power Plant in Bajada and Hedcor's Sibulan hydropower plant.

DLPC said the first attempt of gradual restoration started at 5:52 a.m. after it received power from NGCP, but the power in the entire franchise was interrupted anew at 6:38 a.m.

In its Facebook page, DLPC said that by 7:30 a.m., areas of Puan up to Tibungco have been restored. However, at 8 a.m., "power disturbance was again experienced causing another total power interruption in the electric utility's entire franchise area."

DLPC said that at 9:30 a.m. gradual restoration started in most parts of the Davao Light franchise until full restoration at 12:26 p.m.

"Davao Light is still waiting for the advice from NGCP as to the cause of the said total blackout. Although the power outage was beyond, Davao Light's control, it expressed its deep apology to its customers for the inconvenience that they experienced," DLPC said.

DCWD spokesperson Imelda Magsusi, in a phone interview with Sun.Star Davao, said the water outage was also caused by the loss of power.

"The source of our water is ground water which is being pumped, so for the water to be pumped electricity is needed. When we lost electricity, the pumping stopped," she said.

Magsusi said that when the power outage happened at 3:53 a.m., there was no loss of water immediately since they still had enough supply in their storages. However, water supply was gradually depleted in the morning.

Magsusi said when the power returned at 12:26 p.m. water supply was slowly being pumped back to their franchise. She said those in the lower areas should expect full restoration as of Thursday while those in the further and elevated areas of the city can expect to get water by today.

"The Talomo water pumps are also almost reaching normal operations since four pumps are already running," she said.

On its Facebook page, DCWD also announce the postponement of three sets of water cuts scheduled on February 28 to March 2 due to the "unexpected citywide water interruption on February 27 caused by the Mindanao-wide power outage."

"The DCWD management sees that continuing with the water cuts will immensely burden supposedly would-be affected customers especially that some areas are still recovering from the emergency water outage in the city. Thus, it has decided to postpone these water cuts until further notice," DCWD said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 28, 2014.

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