Friday, February 28, 2014

1-hour rotating blackouts in DLPC franchise today

Sunstar DavaoFriday, February 28, 2014

DUE to the present unstable power supply, Davao Light and Power Co. (DLPC) was constrained to conduct emergency one-hour rotating brownouts in the areas where it is serving.
This, after the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) advised the electric distribution utility to implement manual load dropping due to insufficient power supply.
The implementation of the rotating brownouts is necessary to avoid total collapse of the Mindanao transmission grid which happens when the demand for power exceeds the available supply.
The power firm said that it is doing its best efforts to mitigate the impact of the insufficient power supply by optimizing its embedded power sources; the standby diesel plant at Bajada and the Hedcor Sibulan and Talomo hydropower plants.The entire franchise of Davao Light on Thursday experienced a total blackout after the NGCP, the transmission operator, experienced a power disturbance in its power transmission line. After three attempts starting 5:52 a.m., power in all Davao Light franchise was fully restored at 12:26 p.m.
Davao Light apologized to its consumers for the inconvenience brought about by these power interruptions which are beyond its control.
For schedule of the one-hour power interruption, please refer to the following:
- call center at 229-3572 (DLPC)
- Davao Light website at
- Facebook and twitter accounts
- you may also email

Group chides Petilla's incompetence as Energy secretary

Sunstar DavaoFriday, February 28, 2014

A GROUP opposing power rate increase on Friday urged Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jericho Petilla to resign from post for failing to address the power crisis in Mindanao.
In a statement, former Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño, now convenor of People Opposed to Unwarranted Electricity Rates (Power), said the DOE's effort to address the critical power crisis that has been plaguing Mindanao for the last five years proved futile.
"Maybe it's time Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla look for another job, probably as undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) where he can better tend to his constituents in disaster-struck Leyte," Casiño said.
He noted that the blackout last Thursday, February 27, transpired after the revelation that in the Pablo-struck areas of Southern Mindanao, 57 percent of villages still has no power more than a year after the storm and despite billions of pesos spent on rehabilitation.He said the DOE remained clueless 24 hours after the incident.
The Power also said the problem on Mindanao's power might get worse since Petilla is determined to implementing the Interim Mindanao Electricity Market (IMEM), which they describe as "a clone of the dreaded Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Luzon that caused power rates to spike last November and December, making Meralco seek a P4.15 power rate hike in December and another P5.33 hike in January."
"Worse than WESM, which operates in Luzon's limited power supply, IMEM will be operating in Mindanao where there is an acute power shortage. This will definitely lead to even higher prices, with power generators having a heyday manipulating the spot market," the group said.
Casiño feared the IMEM will have the same schemes with WESM such as high clearing prices and automatic pass through charges, which will be experienced by electricity consumers all over Mindanao.
These, he said, will lead to higher rates.
LISTEN: Statement of DOE Sec. Jericho Petilla (February 28, 2014)
Meanwhile, the DOE already identified the cause of the power outage.
In a report of, Petilla pointed out the problems at the 80-megawatt Agus 1 hydroelectric power plant in Marawi City being operated by the National Power Corporation as the cause of the blackout.
"Yong Agus 1 area sa Lanao del Norte, dito nagsimula 'yong tripping [that's where the tripping started]," he said.
He said they are yet to find out whether it was the plant or the lines of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP)that tripped.
The Davao Light and Power Co. (DLPC) said on Friday it will continue to conduct one-hour rotating brownouts due to ongoing insufficient power supply as advised by the NGCP.
"The implementation of the rotating brownouts was necessary to apportion available power supply to its customers. It will also contribute in avoiding total collapse of the entire Mindanao transmission grid which happens when the demand for power exceeds the available supply," the DLPC said in a statement.
The DLPC said it will go on with this measure until notice from the NGCP to lift its implementation is received.(Arianne Caryl N. Casas)  source

Mindanao-wide blackout shocks Energy secretary

By Reuel John F. LumawagFriday, February 28, 2014

THE Mindanao-wide power outage on Thursday caught Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla by surprise, as he held a press conference at the 9th floor of Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC).
"We are all surprised. System-wide [outage] in Mindanao, I could not remember the last time this happened," he said in a transcript of the press conference furnished to Sun.Star Davao.
At 3:53 a.m. on Thursday, Mindanao experienced an island-wide blackout brought by a power disturbance in the Mindanao grid.
"We may not have enough for Mindanao, but the curtailment is actually very small-16 to 20 megawatts (MW) deficit. This cannot be compared to a summertime demand na 200 MW ang curtailment," he said.Petilla said Mindanao usually experiences massive brownouts that will range from four to six hours every February. But he said Mindanao hardly had any this year where brownouts lasted for only an hour.
Petilla said initial reports from the teams in Mindanao reported that the problem started in Pulangi IV, Bukidnon.
"That was just the initial report, there was no written report yet. It did not indicate anything other than it started there. If the problem was with the plants, the indication is that probably the problem is from the breaker of the plant; and if it's the line, then it's the line along that area. It can be a trip but why it tripped, that's got to take some time. Our initial report was everything went down all together," he said.
LISTEN: Statement of DOE Sec. Jericho Petilla (February 28, 2014)
Petilla said they are trying to retrieve the time log in Pulangi IV to determine the cause of the problem.
He said, "Definitely there is something that triggered it (the blackout) and that is what we're trying to find out right now."
Petilla said they can only speculate but they cannot conclude anything at this point.
He also said there were no reports of any attack on the grid from armed groups.
"Kung meron man pinasabog, then you wouldn't be able to restore power because you have to do a lot of fixing. Sabi ko nga, until I receive reports, I will not discount anything but at this point it is unlikely," he said.
Petilla also said that the incident has nothing to do with the power supply of Mindanao because it is a totally different problem from the supply.
Petiilla said around 1,100 MW to 1,200 MW was lost when the outage struck.
As of 4:30 p.m. Friday, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said they have fully restored power in the island.
"The next phase is basically to find out what went wrong. Then, determine what measures will we put in to prevent this thing from happening again. We have to take this one step at a time," Petilla said, adding that they are expecting reports from the deployed teams in Mindanao as soon as possible.
Earlier, NGCP spokesperson Cynthia 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 naming ibalik ng isa't isa yung kaya ng tumakbo," she said, stressing that NGCP or other power suppliers have nothing to do with the incident.   source

Agus 1 tripping caused Mindanao blackout, DOE’s Petilla says

Business Mirror

28 Feb 2014
Written by Marvyn Benaning with

The Department of Energy (DOE) has revealed the cause of the blackout that hit parts of Mindanao on Thursday.
Energy Secretary Carlos L. Jericho L. Petilla said an initial report showed the blackout was caused by a malfunction at the Agus 1 power plant in Lanao del Norte.
“Ang lumalabas na initial report, but we will verify this sa logger, makikita natin doon ang timeline ng pagbagsak, ay ’yung Agus 1 area sa Lanao del Norte, dito nagsimula ’yung tripping. Whether ang planta ang nag-trip o linya ng NGCP [National Grid Corp. of the Philippines], transmission, ’yan ang inalaam natin ngayon,” he told dzMM.
“Tsine-check natin ngayon ’yung mga auto-protection switches kung gumana ba ito o hindi gumana at saan banda ang nag-fail. Basically, itong Agus 1, maliit lang ito na planta, mga 30 to 45 megawatts [MW],” he added.
Petilla said the problem at Agus 1 was fixed by Thursday afternoon, and electricity supply was restored in the affected areas.
The DOE chief said they will still investigate the incident, together with NGCP and the power plant.
Asked if the blackout was caused by sabotage, Petilla said the initial report showed there was no trace of sabotage, although he was not ruling it out yet.
Also, Petilla said the Steag 200-MW coal-fired power plant in Cagayan de Oro was still not operating as of Thursday night. The plant is expected to start running again by Friday morning.
Aquino bungling
Former Party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna has slammed President Aquino for bungling anew in Mindanao after the entire island-region was plunged into darkness, with the outage crippling major cities and towns.
Casiño said the critical power situation in Mindanao has not been solved in the past five years, with the Aquino administration exacerbating it, as illustrated by the fact that 57 percent of all barangays hit by Typhoon Pablo in Southern Mindanao two years ago still does not have electricity.
He added that the Aquino administration claimed to have poured in billions for rehabilitation of the typhoon-ravaged areas but still could not provide electricity.
The former Bayan Muna lawmaker, now the spokesman of the People Opposed to Unwarranted Electricity Rates (Power), expressed alarm over Mr. Aquino’s alleged failure to solve the problem.
Casiño said the DOE remained clueless as to the cause of the island-wide outage 24 hours after it happened.
“Maybe it’s time Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla look for another job, probably as undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, where he can better tend to his constituents in disaster-struck Leyte,” Casiño suggested.
“Unfortunately, Mindanao’s power woes will get worse because the DOE under Petilla is bent on implementing the Interim Mindanao Electricity Market [Imem], a clone of the dreaded Wholesale Electricity Spot Market [WESM] in Luzon that caused power rates to spike last November and December, making Meralco seek a P4.15 power-rate hike in December and another P5.33 hike in January,” he added.
“Worse than WESM, which operates in Luzon’s limited power supply, Imem will be operating in Mindanao where there is an acute power shortage. This will definitely lead to even higher prices, with power generators having a heyday manipulating the spot market,” Casiño warned.
“If Imem is allowed to continue operating, the same WESM schemes, like high clearing prices and automatic pass-through charges, will be experienced by electricity consumers all over Mindanao, leading to higher rates,” he said.
Already, Mindanao’s electric cooperatives are up in arms over Imem’s more than P200 million in excess billing from November 26 to December 25, when it charged the cooperatives for electricity that allegedly was neither ordered nor delivered.
The co-ops have refused to pay the charges and are poised to ask the courts to declare Imem illegal.
Imem is managed by the Philippine Electric Market Corp., the same agency that oversees WESM, Casiño said.  source

Mindanao experiencing 3-hour brownouts

Business World Online
Posted on February 28, 2014 08:30:54 PM

Residents in Mindanao continue to experience up to three hours of rotating brownouts pending the return to operations of a 210-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Misamis Oriental, officials told reporters on Friday.

The coal plant -- operated by STEAG State Power, Inc. -- tripped, together with other power plants early on Thursday morning, causing a massive outage across the entire island of Mindanao.

The officials said that 80-85% of the power supply in Mindanao has been restored.

“All the power transmission and distribution facilities have been restored. All power plants except STEAG are already up and running,” Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla said in a briefing held at the department’s headquarters in Bonifacio Global City.

“There are still brownouts because of STEAG, which [generates] more than 200 MW. [That translates to] around two-to-three hour rotating brownouts until STEAG is back,” said Eugene H. Bicar, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) head for Mindanao Systems Operations, said during the same briefing.

Mr. Bicar said the coal plant was running normally before the blackout, but after tripping, it had some technical problems that resulted in its inability to be synchronized to the grid.

“They’re still looking at when it will resume. They haven’t identified the cause yet. They said they’re going to get some consultants,” the official added.

Mr. Bicar traced the outage to a malfunction of one of the circuit breakers of the Agus 1 hydroelectric power plant in Lanao del Sur. “The malfunction at Agus 1 triggered the collapse of all generation facilities in Mindanao,” Mr. Bicar said.

He clarified that the NGCP’s transmission facilities were not at fault as these were already fully restored by noon yesterday.

The exact cause of Agus 1’s equipment malfunction was yet to be determined. “This is still subject for further investigation. We will have to collect all the data from individual reports of Napocor (National Power Corp.), NGCP, and the other power plant owners,” Mr. Petilla said. These reports are expected to be submitted by Monday, the official said.

Meanwhile, Napocor President Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita said that the Agus 1 hydro plant is already back to operating normally.

“We are also finalizing the data that we will submit. We are going to dig deeper to see what went wrong,” Ms. Cruz-Sta. Rita.

Ms. Cruz-Sta. Rita also acknowledged the inefficiency of some of Agus 1’s facilities because of “old age.”

The 80-MW plant forms part of the Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric power plant complex, which supplies more than half of Mindanao’s power needs.

“We are actually looking at new equipment for installation in Agus 1. Our people are also checking the maintenance,” Ms. Cruz-Sta. Rita said.

“NGCP and Napocor agreed to review the protection settings so that this won’t happen again,” she added.

Mr. Petilla also emphasized that problems in power facilities are inevitable.

“While we have a regular maintenance program, some of those [facilities] are really old. So the problem could be electrical in nature. These are the things that happen every now and then,” the Energy chief said. “We try to prevent all of these but if for some reason, it happens again, the most important [thing] is how quickly we can restore the power,” he added.

Mr. Petilla said it will coordinate with Napocor and other concerned agencies to determine the cause of the problem and come up with the solution.

“It could be because of the old facilities. But before we replace them, we should first check and evaluate if that’s really the cause. The technical people will be there to evaluate that,” he said.

“We will see if there’s negligence or just electrical problem,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Davao Light and Power Co., a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corp., announced late Thursday that there would be hour-long rotating power outages within its franchise area. This came after the NGCP asked the city’s power utility to reduce its load due to the insufficient supply in the Mindanao grid.

Details of the rotating brownout, however, have yet to be provided by the company even as it noted such a measure is necessary to avoid a collapse of the Mindanao transmission grid. Davao Light’s franchise area takes up as much as a fourth of the grid’s supply estimated at roughly 1,300 megawatts (MW).

This is the first time Davao Light announced a rotating brownout since the long dry spell in 2010 that disrupted the operation of Mindanao’s power generation capacity. Under the worst scenario then, the city’s downtown where most businesses are located suffered an hour without power during the day while areas outside downtown had to endure two hours without electricity.

The firm said it is doing its best to reduce the adverse impact of the situation, noting it has embedded power sources that it could harness in the near term. These are the company’s 40-MW standby diesel plant at Bajada, and the Hedcor Sibulan and Talomo hydropower plants which could provide about the same amount of power.

The Energy department failed to meet its target of full power restoration within the same day of the system-wide outage.

All power plants in Mindanao -- which had a combined dependable capacity of 1,100-1,200 MW on Thursday -- went offline because of the outage.

Power was immediately restored in major cities in Mindanao -- including Davao, General Santos, Zamboanga, Pagadian and Cagayan de Oro -- according to the NGCP.

The Energy chief also warned of power shortages in the upcoming summer months in the wake of the blackout. He had said on Thursday that there will be a shortage of up to 150-MW, equivalent to three-hour rotating brownouts.

The massive outage came less than a year after significant parts of Luzon experienced a major power outage on May 8, 2013 that lasted for almost 10 hours. The cause of that outage was attributed to the malfunction of a transmission line, which in turn bogged down six major power plants in Luzon. The plants’ shutdown resulted in the loss of 3,700-MW in the Luzon grid -- almost half of the 8,300 MW peak demand in the island.

The NGCP tracked the problem to a unit of the 600-MW Calaca plant in Batangas, which tripped along with the Calaca-Biñan 230-kilovolt transmission line.

Besides the Calaca plant, the other major plants affected were identified as the 1,200-MW Ilijan, 1,000-MW Sta. Rita and 500-MW San Lorenzo natural gas power plants in Batangas City; the 460-MW Quezon coal-fired power plant in Mauban Quezon; and the 1,218-MW Sual coal-fired power plant in Pangasinan. -- Claire-Ann Marie C. Feliciano    source

Oriental Mindoro utility secures more power

Business World Online
Posted on February 28, 2014 07:46:50 PM

A POWER DISTRIBUTOR in Oriental Mindoro has secured preliminary approval for its 25-year supply deal with Ormin Power Corp., according to a regulatory document released to media on Friday.

  The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), in an order dated Jan. 20, granted provisional approval for the power supply agreement (PSA) of Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ORMECO) and Ormin Power.

Under the PSA, “Ormin Power shall construct, operate and own the Inabasan mini hydro power plant with an installed capacity of 10 MW (megawatts).”

The P1.5-billion plant -- which will be built in Barangay Caagutayan in the municipality of San Teodoro -- will source its water requirement from Inabasan River.

The PSA of the two parties is good for a period of 25 years upon start of commercial operations of the plant in 2016.

“An initial evaluation of the application disclosed that the PSA entered into by and between ORMECO and Ormin Power will redound the benefit of ORMECO’s member-consumers in terms of continuous, reliable, efficient and affordable power supply,” the order read.

The ERC also approved a P5.90 per kilowatt-hour generation rate for the electricity generated by Ormin Power’s hydro plant.

The PSA, the regulator further said, the PSA would address the growing energy needs of the customers of ORMECO.

“ORMECO projects an increase in the energy consumption of its customers which may be attributed to the influx and growth of commercial establishments and the continuing expansion of residential areas in the province of Oriental Mindoro,” it noted.

“With no sufficient reserve power, ORMECO will be confronted with deficiency of energy, thereby posing a greater risk of power shortage in the face of its increasing demand.”

ORMECO, in its petition in November last year, had said it wanted to ensure sufficient, reliable power supply in the province through utilization of renewable sources of energy. The putting up of the Inabasan power plant is not only essential in meeting the energy demands of ORMECO; at the same time, it would be helpful in safeguarding the member-consumers from adverse effects of soaring petroleum prices,” ORMECO said.

The 10-MW hydro plant will be the second power project of Ormin Power in the province, after a 6.4-MW diesel power plant that also supplies electricity to ORMECO.

ORMECO distributes electricity in the municipalities of Baco, Bansud, Bongabong, Bulalacao, Gloria, Mansalay, Naujan, Pinamalayan, Pola, Puerto Galera, Roxas, San Teodoro, Socorro, Victoria and the city of Calapan -- all in the province of Oriental Mindoro. -- C. A. M. C. Feliciano   source

Mindanao black-out traced to Lanao del Norte power plant trip

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla. FILE PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines—Energy secretary Jericho Petilla said the power outage that left millions of people without electricity in Mindanao on Thursday was traced to a power tripping incident in a Lanao Del Norte hydropower plant.
Petilla said in an interview on Inquirer Radio 990 on Friday that the power tripped in the 80-megawatt Agus 1 hydropower plant in Marawi city.
The power plant is located at the mouth of Lanao lake.
But repair crews have yet to find out if it was the plant that malfunctioned or the power grid, Petilla said.
“Whether it’s the power plant or the grid that tripped, we still need to investigate…” the energy chief said in Filipino.
The power cuts began before dawn and affected heavily populated areas in Mindanao, home to a quarter of the country’s nearly 100 million population.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said at least 12 of Mindanao’s key cities and provinces — including major trading hubs — were affected, although limited power was restored in some parts a few hours later.
Mindanao, the nation’s main southern island which relies mostly on hydroelectricity, has been grappling with chronic power shortages for years.
An electricity shortage last year forced the NGCP to ration off supply in Mindanao, resulting in up to 12 hour daily blackouts which damaged the local economy as factories slowed production. With Agence France-Presse   source

Thursday, February 27, 2014

ADB completes switch to renewable energy

Business World Online
Posted on February 27, 2014 09:34:28 PM

THE HEADQUARTERS of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Mandaluyong City is now fully powered by renewable energy, following the signing of a deal with a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corp. (AboitizPower).

ADB, in a statement posted on its Web site yesterday, said it had inked a geothermal power supply agreement with AdventEnergy, Inc., a licensed retail electricity supplier of AboitizPower.

"The headquarters is now powered by 100% renewable energy generated by geothermal plants in Tiwi in Albay province and Makiling-Banahaw in Laguna province, both of which are on the main Philippine island of Luzon, in addition to existing on-site solar power generation," the statement read.

ADB Vice-President Bruce Davis said in the same statement that the agreement would allow ADB to cut its annual carbon footprint by nearly 50%, equivalent to a reduction of 9,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

"As an institution, we are strongly committed to expanding the use of renewable energy across Asia and the Pacific, so it is only fitting that we walk the talk in our own headquarters," Mr. Davis said.

The ADB further said that the contract provides that the bank will purchase an average of 1.5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity every month.

"This will be supplemented by about 50,000 kWh generated monthly from ADB’s rooftop solar panels," the ADB noted.

The two sources will meet the entire energy requirements of the ADB office here in the Philippines, where some 2,600 staff and consultants work every day.

While securing a supply deal with AdventEnergy would mean that ADB will no longer purchase electricity directly from Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the bank will still use the utility’s distribution system, according to the statement.

"The move follows ADB’s decision to take advantage of electricity reforms in the Philippines which allow large users to choose their power supplier," the ADB said.

"The contract with AdventEnergy followed a competitive bidding process. It was selected as it was the only one to offer a large portion of its electricity generated from renewable sources," it added.

The ADB said the ceremonial switch to renewable power is part of ADB’s No Impact Week, which encourages changes in work and personal lifestyle to reduce carbon footprint and environmental impact. -- Claire-Ann Marie C. Feliciano   source

Mum on cause, NGCP says all lines reconnected to grid

By Walter I. Balane on February 27 2014 6:26 pm

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews s/ 27 Feb) – The power transmission service in Mindanao is now back to normal, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said in its 4:30 p.m. update in its website.
“All NGCP substations connected to backbone lines in Mindanao were connected to the grid as of 12:18 p.m.,” the second advisory said.
NGCP is still mum on the reason behind the outage aside from saying they are still “determining the cause and will issue a statement when investigation is completed.”
Meanwhile, Roderico Bioco, president of the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., said the still unexplained power outage in Mindanao early morning today serves as a wakeup call.
Bioco told MindaNews the incident is just an “awakening” for a serious concern “that should preoccupy our national leaders.”
He cited that the NGCP, being a consortium with a state-owned company of China, is a concern.
“This is a concern to me and should be to all of us since NGCP holds a vital function that can affect not just our economy, but more critically our national security,” he added.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, on the other hand, said in a statement that the “blackout showed how precarious still is our power situation more than a decade after the government’s power assets were privatized and handed down and sold, some for a song, to a few players.”
MindaNews reported Monday morning that a major fault along a transmission line maintained by the NGCP in Bukidnon province reportedly triggered the continuing massive power outage in parts of Mindanao.
Most of Mindanao plunged into darkness 3:53 a.m. today, and the NGCP, in its website, said that it is “still determining the cause and is working to restore the power transmission service to all power customers in Mindanao.”
The report quoted Santiago Tudio, general manager of the South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I), as saying they were informed by the NGCP 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.
Tudio said in the report that the NGCP advisory did not indicate any problem with the power plants but only with the transmission lines.
“NGCP is still determining the cause and is working to restore the power transmission service to all power customers in Mindanao,” it added.
It cited that as of 9:30 a.m., transmission service was restored in Davao City, General Santos City, Zamboanga City, Pagadian City, Cagayan de Oro City, parts of Misamis Oriental.
Starting in 2008, the NGCP has obtained the task of delivering safe and reliable electricity through electric transmission business of the country.
According to its website, in 2008 the consortium of Monte Oro Grid Resources Corporation, Calaca High Power Corporation, and State Grid Corporation of China won the franchise to operate, maintain, and further expand the power grid “in the biggest government auction conducted in efforts to reform the local power sector.”
Republic Act 9511, signed into law on December 1, 2008, granted NGCP the franchise to operate, manage, and expand the electric transmission business of the country.
The Franchise Law, a product of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001, authorized NGCP to handle the transmission grid for 25 years, renewable for another 25 years, for a total of a 50-year franchise.
But Zarate lamented that the EPIRA “miserably failed us all these years” with “high power prices” and the “intermittent brownouts that sometimes lasted for hours.”
According to the NGCP website, “the franchise only covers the operations and management of the transmission facilities but the assets, including lines, substations, land, and structures, will remain with the Philippine government through the National Transmission Corporation or TransCo.”
“What was once a government owned and controlled corporation and a spin-off company of National Power Corporation, NGCP now holds the responsibility of bringing the electricity produced by power plants to distribution utilities. Though relatively new, NGCP tries to empower the country by building transmission lines that will traverse and interconnect our major islands so that every household will enjoy the benefits of electricity,” the NGCP added in its website.
RA 9511 subjected NGCP to the regulation and policies of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in the conduct of its operations. NGCP is also expected to report regularly to Congress to ensure the compliance with regulators and related laws, the website added.
Zarate expressed fears that the blackout “will once again be used by the Aquino government to project a phantom power crisis and push or fast-track the privatization of the remaining government power assets like the Agus-Pulangi power complex,” referring to the hydroelectric power plants in Lanao and Bukidnon, respectively.  source

Power restored in most parts of Mindanao—NGCP

By Edwin Fernandez 
Inquirer Mindanao 
2:56 pm | Thursday, February 27th, 2014

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines — Power has been restored in most parts of Mindanao, as of 12 noon Thursday, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) claimed.
Melfrance Capulong, speaking for the NGCP, said power was restored at about 9:30 a.m. in the provinces and cities of the Davao region, General Santos, Zamboanga, Pagadian, Cagayan de Oro and parts of Misamis Oriental.
Power in Kidapawan City, host of Mt. Apo geothermal power plant, was restored at 11 a.m.
Capulong said as of Thursday afternoon that the NGCP was still determining what triggered the power interruption at the Mindanao grid at 3:53 a.m. Thursday.
Ivy Henson, speaking for the Energy Development Corporation, which runs the Mt. Apo geothermal plant, said prior to the grid disturbance that affected most of Mindanao, the plants were operating normally at base-load capacity.
As of early afternoon on Thursday, the geothermal plants in Kidapawan City have been operating on household capacity and awaiting go signal from NGCP to go back on line, Henson said.
At 11:20 a.m., Henson said the EDC’s Mindanao 2 geothermal plants were running and supplying 14 megawatts to the Mindanao line.   source

Mindanao hit by massive blackout


February 27, 2014 2:24 pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Authorities are investigating what caused the blackout that hit a wide section of Mindanao early Thursday.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) could not explain the sudden blackout which began shortly before 4 a.m. It said electricity was restored in some areas – Davao City, General Santos City, Zamboanga City, Pagadian City, Cagayan de Oro City and parts of Misamis Oriental province – five hours later, but a large part of Mindanao is still without power.
The NGCP, a private corporation that operates the country’s power transmission network, said it continues to monitor the situation in Mindanao.
The military said it has no reports of NGCP’s facilities in Mindanao being attacked. “We have no reports about any bombings or attacks on steel pylons operated by the NGCP. We also do not know the cause of the blackout,” Capt. Alberto Caber, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command, told The Manila Times.
In Western Mindanao, Capt. Maria Rowena Myuela, a regional military spokesperson, said they also have no reports of any attacks on NGCP towers. “We also have no reports about it, but we were told by the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative that the power outage was caused by an abnormal supply of electricity,” she said in a separate interview.
Earlier in February, suspected rebels bombed but failed to bring down a NGCP pylon in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao. The 6th Infantry Division blamed the attack on the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Last September, rebels also blasted a steel pylon in the same town cutting electricity in several provinces. AL JACINTO source

Fault in Bukidnon transmission line behind Mindanao power outage?

By Mindanews on February 27 2014 12:25 pm

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 27 Feb) – A major fault along a transmission line maintained by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in Bukidnon province reportedly triggered the continuing massive power outage in parts of Mindanao.
Most of Mindanao plunged into darkness 3:53 a.m. today, and the NGCP, in its website, said that it is “still determining the cause and is working to restore the power transmission service to all power customers in Mindanao.”
Santiago Tudio, general manager of the South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I), said they were informed by the NGCP 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.
As of 10 a.m., the entire southern and central Mindanao as well as parts of the Davao region has remained without power due to the disturbance, although some areas like Cagayan de Oro City regained electricity past 9 a.m. Power was also restored in Iligan City shortly before 10 a.m., but was interrupted again for about two hours.
The NGCP claimed that “as of 9:30 a.m. transmission service is restored” in Davao City, General Santos City, Zamboanga City, Pagadian City, Cagayan de Oro City and parts of Misamis Oriental.
In General Santos, the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) was able to partially restore power in some parts of the city following the streaming of power supplies from the Alcantara-controlled Southern Philippines Power Corporation’s diesel-fired power plant in Alabel town in Sarangani.
Socoteco II serves this city, the entire province of Sarangani and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.
Tudio said Socoteco I is currently working on using its leased modular generator sets before noon to restore power in Koronadal City and the neighboring areas.
He said they received a go-signal from the Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday morning to operate the 12-megawatt generator sets on a temporary basis pending the approval and issuance of its permit.  source

Blackout hits entire Mindanao grid

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MANILA, Philippines - The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) still does not know the cause of the power outage that hit several areas in Mindanao on Thursday.
Lawyer Cynthia Alabanza, NGCP spokesperson, said they have no "concrete information" yet on the cause of the widespread blackout that started at 3:53 a.m.
She said the entire Mindanao power grid being affected is "very unusual," making it difficult for them to speculate on the cause of the power outage.
"When a grid disturbance happens, it could be anything from supply or transmission. It could be anything minor or major, so it's very, very difficult to speculate at this point," Alabanza said in a phone-patch interview on ANC.
In its Twitter account, the NGCP posted an update, which showed that power has been restored in the cities of General Santos, Zamboanga, Pagadian, Cagayan de Oro and parts of Misamis Oriental.
Alabanza said they will be focusing on probing the cause of the power failure after restoring electricity in the affected areas.
However, she said the NGCP cannot yet commit to bring back power in a few hours or within the day.
"We cannot make that commitment because the information is not yet complete and it's unclear what really happened," Alabanza told ANC.   source

Davao cooperative can’t use generators as it awaits ERC order

By Allan Nawal, Orlando Dinoy and Eldie Aguirre 
Inquirer Mindanao 11:32 am | Thursday, February 27th, 2014

DIGOS CITY — Despite having modular generator sets, the electric cooperative here could not use these after a power outage hit Mindanao Thursday dawn.
Godofredo Guya, manager of the Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative, said the utility could not just use the 16 modular gensets that were recently installed.
Guya said while the modular gensets — which can produce a total of 15 megawatts — can at least ease the power problem but its use still has to be decided upon by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Davao del Sur’s power requirement for the more that 60,000 consumers is normally between 35-42 megawatts.
“The ERC has to issue an approval so we could bill the consumers when we use it,” Guya added.
He said Dasureco has asked the ERC to use the gensets in time of outages similar to Thursday’s but the order has not come out yet.
“A commissioner has informed us there was an imminent approval but we have to wait for the formal order before using them,” Danny Canastra, head of Dasureco’s member service department said.
Canastra said Dasureco could not tap power from Hedcor, which draws energy from the Sibulan River, because “we have no existing contact.”
Hedcor, a subsidiary of the Aboitiz Power Corporation, currently supplies power to the Davao Light and Power Company from its Tudaya I Hydroplant in Sibulan.
He said there was a proposal before to tap Tudaya I but Dasureco backed out due to pricing.
Hedcor sells its Tudaya-generated electricity at P7 per kilowatt hour, compared to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ P5 per kilowatt hour.   source

Power disturbance hits Mindanao

Inquirer Mindanao 8:40 am | Thursday, February 27th, 2014

DAVAO CITY — A massive power disturbance hit Mindanao on Thursday dawn and the cause has yet to be determined.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said the power disturbance started at around 3:53 a.m.
“Reports indicate that the Mindanao grid experienced a disturbance at 3:53 a.m. NGCP is still determining the cause and extent of the disturbance,” the NGCP, in a statement, said.
The NGCP said it was working to restore power transmission service to all power customers in Mindanao.
As of 7 a.m. Thursday, power has been restored in Davao City.   source

IN ALL ‘PABLO’-AFFECTED AREAS DOE head vows anew to restore electricity

By Michael Lim Ubac 
Philippine Daily Inquirer 
1:24 am | Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla: At it again. FILE PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines—After taking flak for failing to energize by Christmas Eve last year areas that Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla is at it again, setting another target for power restoration in Davao Oriental province.
“Secretary Petilla told President (Aquino) in Tacloban yesterday that DOE (Department of Energy) will ensure full restoration of electricity in all (Typhoon) ‘Pablo’-affected areas within 45 days,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said in a text message.
“He (Petilla) will submit a memo to the President shortly on details of DOE’s action plan,” said Coloma.
Essentially, what the energy chief is saying this time around is that he could achieve in just one and a half months what the DOE had failed to do in one year and two months since Pablo ravaged the Davao Region in December 2012.
57% without power
The latest self-imposed deadline is Petilla’s way of placating the President who, while visiting Cateel, Davao Oriental, on Monday became furious when he learned that power had yet to be restored in 24 barangays (villages), or 57 percent of the province.
Aquino was apparently put on the spot when he was informed no less by the governor, Corazon Malanyaon, in a speech that electricity in more than half of the province had yet to be restored.
Before his visit, Aquino had expected that rehabilitation, including power restoration, would be  in full swing because it had been more than a year since Pablo barreled through Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur provinces, killing more than 1,000 people, destroying livelihood and rendering thousands homeless.
It could not be immediately ascertained if other parts of the region still suffered from power shortage.
Cateel was the only place in the region that was included in the President’s itinerary for a two-day inspection of disaster areas early this week. Besides Davao Oriental, he also inspected the progress of rehabilitation efforts in Bohol, Cebu and Leyte provinces.
‘You’ll be sorry’
Aquino demanded that power be fully restored in Davao Oriental, which bore the brunt of Pablo.
He gave officials he did not identify until next week to comply, or resign.
“We have work to do; do your job or (you’ll be) sorry,” he said in an interview with reporters on Tuesday in Cebu City.
Although the President did not identify him by name, Petilla asked the President to extend the deadline from one week to a non-extendible 45-day period to comply with the directive.
At a briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that Aquino was “frustrated” because of blame-tossing and finger-pointing as to which agency should be responsible for restoring power in the Davao Region.
“That’s why it surprised the President … particularly, and which is why it also merited that kind of reaction from the President. And now, steps are being undertaken and he wants to see that those steps are actually fulfilled,” Valte said.
Asked if Petilla would be sacked if he failed to meet his own target this time, she said she didn’t think anyone doubted the seriousness of the President when he made that statement. “You go by the word of the President.”
Valte said Petilla was able to speak to Aquino on Tuesday in Tacloban, where the President led the groundbreaking of the new Eastern Visayas Medical Regional Center.
“If you recall … the frustration of the President when he arrived in Cateel was (due to) the blame-tossing of responsibility. So now the DOE is clearly on point on this, and Secretary Petilla has [promised] the full restoration of electricity in all Pablo-affected areas within 45 days,” she said.
Valte could not offer an explanation for the continued failure to restore power in that province, when reporters pointed out that the President had authorized the release of billions of pesos for power restoration and repair of damaged public infrastructure in the aftermath of Pablo.
“I’m sure the departments can appropriately explain what they’ve done, but now it’s just clear that it’s DOE on point, and that will certainly bolster efforts to restore power on those areas,” she said.
Not energized
Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez denied in an interview, also on Tuesday, that the city was fully energized more than 100 days after Yolanda struck.
Romualdez said only 50 percent of the city had electricity.
Asked to comment, Valte said: “We’ll ask DOE to respond to that because the report that they gave us was that they had already met their target a few days after… You all know what happened to that. But what I understand is that they’ve already achieved their target so, we’ll ask Secretary Petilla to respond to the statement of Mayor Romualdez.”
‘Self-inflicted wound’
Critics earlier scored Petilla for offering to resign when it was clear that he could not deliver on his promise to reenergize all typhoon-ravaged communities in the “whole of Visayas” by Christmas Eve last year.
The critics pointed out that all Petilla had promised was to reconnect the towns to the power grid.
As for the homes, there were few to be reenergized because Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) flattened entire communities in the Visayas.
The Inquirer was present when Petilla, while waiting for the President to arrive in Palo, Leyte, boasted before a group of reporters last November that he could reenergize all Yolanda-affected areas by Christmas Eve.
Since it was barely a week after Yolanda flattened Tacloban and much of Eastern Visayas, the reporters were skeptical.
To which Petilla retorted: “Do you want my position if I don’t (meet the) Dec. 24 (target)? You will have it. If I make it (on) Dec. 25, then I’ll submit my resignation if that is what you want.”
He explained that he was imposing this target because he liked to challenge himself, adding that this “will satisfy the public, show that I am sincere and I will do my best.”
Last month, nearly two months after the promise, Petilla met with the President behind closed doors in Malacañang and offered to resign for failing to meet his self-imposed Christmas Eve deadline to reenergize all 320 towns flattened by the super typhoon on Nov. 8.
As of Dec. 24, three of the 320 towns still had to be reenergized.
As expected by many, the President rejected Petilla’s resignation.
But the brouhaha over what critics labeled as Petilla’s “self-inflicted wound” is far from over.
On several occasions, the President scored the media for supposedly engaging in nitpicking by putting to task his energy secretary for the latter’s unfulfilled promise.
Aquino noted that Petilla had managed to restore power to the communities in the Visayas in roughly 40 days, and within that period he was able to energize 317 of the 320 affected towns, leaving only 0.93 percent still to be reenergized.
“Secretary Petilla is a straight and honorable man, so he decided to submit his resignation. My response to him: ‘That’s foolishness,’” Aquino said.
“Many would benefit from his accomplishment, and his competence would be wasted if he would resign,” he added.
That statement, however, has been seen in a new light this week amid the President’s discovery that he had been left in the dark by his own energy secretary over the real power situation in parts of Mindanao.  source