NATIONAL Grid Corporation of the Philippines has warned that blackouts are inevitable especially when landowners continue to maliciously plant trees and build structures within the right of way clearances and demand exorbitant amounts before allowing access to the property.
“While NGCP is exerting all efforts to provide quality power transmission services to all its customers, these will be futile if we continue to encounter delays not just in new projects, but even during regular maintenance activities,” said National Grid, operator of the country’s transmission highway.
National Grid said banana trees were intentionally and maliciously planted which caused the tripping of the Agus 5-Aurora 138-kV line and subsequent tripping of the Baloi-Aurora 138-kV line last Sept. 15.
These trippings caused the blackout of the entire Zamboanga peninsula, including areas served by distribution utilities Zamboanga del Sur Electric Cooperative I and II, Zamboanga del Norte Electric Cooperative, Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Misamis Occidental Electric Cooperative I and II, and parts of Lanao del Norte Electric Cooperative at 11:37 a.m. but the lines were restored on the same day at 12:01 p.m.
National Grid conducted right-of-way clearing activities on both lines last February, except at the area between towers 29 and 30 of the Agus 5-Aurora 138-kV line in the property of a landowner who refused access for maintenance activities.
It said uncut and untrimmed trees, apart from violating right-of-way clearances, reached a height that caused the line-to-ground fault and subsequent tripping. Traces of burned plants were found in the area.
The system operator continues its appeal for support from the local government units, local community leaders, and the public to negotiate with difficult landowners, to prevent longer power interruptions and ensure reliable operations.
It is also pushing for the refiling of the “Anti-Power Line Disturbance Act,” which was proposed in the previous Congress.
“NGCP is reiterating its support for the passage of the ‘Act prohibiting the planting of plants and trees, and the construction of any structure under or within the right-of-way clearance of all power transmission and distribution lines and providing penalties for violation thereof’ in the current 17th Congress,” it said.
National Grid is hopeful that support in the form of legislation, through the House and Senate Committees on Energy, will eliminate substantial delays in project construction and obstruction in regular maintenance works.
“After all, this is not only for NGCP but also for distribution utilities encountering the same difficulties,” it said.
National Grid operates and maintains the country’s power grid. It transmits high-voltage electricity through “power superhighways” that include the interconnected system of transmission lines, towers, substations, and related assets.
The consortium, which holds the 25-year concession contract to operate the country’s power transmission network, is composed of Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. led by Henry Sy Jr., Calaca High Power Corp. led by Robert Coyiuto Jr., and the State Grid Corp. of China as technical partner.