NGCP testing system to power Samar, Leyte, Bohol from Cebu

10.07.2017, 11:49

NATIONAL GRID Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said it had created a “bypass line” that would allow Samar, Leyte and Bohol to receive power from Cebu after an earthquake on Thursday caused blackouts on the three islands.

As of 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, NGCP said they had been testing the Ormoc, Leyte substation before allowing power to flow through the Tabango-Ormoc bypass line, which was completed on Saturday.

“Once testing is successful, Samar, Leyte, Biliran, and Bohol will receive power from Cebu,” the power grid operator said.

The magnitude 6.5 earthquake occurred at 4:03 p.m. on Thursday, July 6, in Jaro, Leyte. Panay, Negros and Cebu islands experienced power interruptions but are now fully restored.

“NGCP assures the public that it is continuously monitoring the situation and will provide more updates as new information is available,” it added.

The bypass line was put up as power facilities in the area were hit, including those of Lopez-led Energy Development Corp. (EDC).

As of Saturday, EDC said all of its Leyte power plants remained shut while assessment of the full extent of the damage is going on. Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi inspected the facilities along with EDC President Richard B. Tantoco.

In a statement, EDC said the first unit of its Tongonan geothermal power plant might not be operational “for some time” because of the damage sustained by its cooling tower after the quake.

It said the second unit might be operational in the next seven to 10 days “as tests on the unit and the main transformer as well as cooling tower repair need to be performed.”

EDC’s Upper Mahiao plant is also expected to return to operation in five to seven days and bring back 132 megawatts (MW) to the grid.

For the Malitbog power plant, the first two units are estimated to return to service within the next seven to 10 days, allowing 150-MW of power back online, it said. The third unit will remain on shutdown because of the damage sustained by the cooling tower.

“Access to our Mahanagdong plant remains difficult and we have not yet been able to assess the extent of damage,” EDC said.

“We are still working to clear landslide debris. Barring any unforeseen issues, EDC could have about 317 MW of power restored to Leyte within the next 10 days,” it said.

“Meanwhile, repair of the marshalling station has commenced and we expect it to be operational in three to five days. Aside from transmitting power from our plants, these repairs will also allow the connection of the station to the 230 kV (kilovolt) line to Luzon,” it said.

The company said its team of contractors had been mobilized “to work 24/7, safety considerations permitting, to complete the assessment and accelerate return to service.”

NGCP offered other developments in the area, including the supply of power by the Janopol hydroelectric power plant and Sevilla mini hydro to Bohol Electric Cooperative, which serves the areas of Antiquera, Panglao, Loay, Maribojoc and Tubigon.

The franchise area of Bohol Light Co., Inc., including Tagbilaran City, is receiving supply generated by a diesel plant in Bohol, it said.

NGCP’s Cebu-Leyte submarine cable and its Tabango substation in Leyte continues to transmit power to Leyte Electric Cooperative V. The utility is now serving the municipality of Palompon, aside from Kananga, Tabango, San Isidro, Villaba, Calubian, Matag-ob and Leyte, the company said.

As of 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, Panay Energy Development Corp. and Palm Concepcion Power Corp. were back online and have been synchronized to the grid, augmenting power transmission services in the Panay area, NGCP said. The companies’ power plants were reported to have been on shutdown on Saturday morning.

“The outage of power plants in Leyte may still cause customers in Cebu, Negros, and Panay to experience occasional power interruptions. Power generation from solar plants in the region may be able to produce sufficient supply during the daytime,” NGCP said earlier.

NGCP’s Ormoc-Tongonan 138-kV line, which was found leaning after the earthquake, has been reinforced and is ready to be energized as soon as supply from EDC becomes available, it said.

“Once the line is energized, power will be restored in Ormoc, Leyte,” the company said. -- Victor V. Saulon