Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Mindanao Power Problem

By Anton Antonio
January 20, 2016

“The power problem in that island (Mindanao) needs to be solved… and solved ASAP.”  (Antonio, 2016)  In a recent blog, titled “Decision Making”, I highlighted the fact that the power crisis in Mindanao cannot be treated as an environmental problem alone.  “There really are certain dynamics (political, social, cultural, economic and environmental) in Mindanao that we, who live in Luzon, do not know nor understand.” (Antonio, 2016)  Please read the following researched material…

By Ace June Rell S. Perez
January 8, 2016

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said Wednesday that there is a possibility for the Mindanao grid to collapse if bombing incidents continue.  With this situation, NGCP is now taking extra security measures to protect the safety of the towers and lines in order for the transmission services to remain uninterrupted.  “We need to extra guard those towers and lines that are uninterrupted because we cannot afford to lose another one, especially we only have one line remaining to deliver power from the Agus Hydro Complex which is the Maramag-Bunawan 138-kV line and if this is in any way compromised, no power will flow from the remaining Agus hydro facilities to south of Mindanao where the bulk of power demand is located,” NGCP corporate communications officer for Mindanao, Milfrance Q. Capulong, said.  As of December 28, a total of 16 towers were already bombed, nine of which were totally toppled and now restored by Emergency Restoration Structure (ERS).  NGCP data showed the three other lines connected to Agus Hydro Complex are Agus 2 – Agus 1 – Kibawe 138 kV lines, both are now out of service because of right-of-way (ROW) issues while the Agus 2-Kibawe 138 kV line in Ramain, Lanao del Sur is currently out of service because Tower NO. 25 was bombed last December 24.  Adding more weight to the problem for NGCP is the uncooperative landowners hindering them in restoring the bombed Tower No. 25.  “We are still trying to look at other ways on how to access the Tower No. 25 because landowners are not cooperative claiming that the government failed to pay their claims long ago,” she said, adding that power stakeholders and the NGCP partners including National Power Corporation (Napocor), Department of Energy, Mindanao Development Authority, Transco, and the local government unit of Lanao del Sur will meet to discuss the matter.  In a press statement released Wednesday, NGCP appealed to local community leaders to help identify the perpetrators of the bombings, and to negotiate with uncooperative landowners, to prevent longer power interruptions.  NGCP is continuously coordinating with the military, LGU and even the residents to build an intelligence network to secure the safety of the NGCP’s facilities vital to continue transmission services.  The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) already committed to NGCP in stepping up security to protect the power transmission facilities.  “It is only in 2015 where we experienced these bombing incidents.  Since we started, the operations in the transmission of power last 2009, we haven’t experienced this only now, and only us here in Mindanao,” Capulong said.  She added that motives were not yet determined behind the bombing incidents.  Meanwhile, NGCP placed Mindanao power grid back on a yellow alert since contingency reserve is less than the highest power unit online after it announced Wednesday that the island is on a red alert or zero reserve power.  “The power situation is very precarious here in Mindanao, reserve is highly needed and usually the ideal reserve must be equal to the highest power plant online,” she said.  As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, January 7, the power situation outlook of NGCP showed that Mindanao has a total of 98 megawatts power reserve.” (Sun Star Davao)

In the month of January (2016) alone, two transmission towers have already been bombed… the latest of which was Tower No. 23.  This makes one feel that no matter how much the government does in terms of providing renewable or non-renewable energy resources-powered electricity facilities, in partnership with the private sector, nothing could provide any form of power and energy relief to the people of Mindanao.  A dozen more solar, wind and/or coal plants could solve the energy crisis if the transmission lines are not secure and are bombed and destroyed regularly.  The people of Mindanao should begin to realize that they also need to stand against this problem and not just leave this concern to government security forces.  Political and security reasons, over socio-economic and environmental reasons, are the real causes of the Mindanao power problem.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Antonio, A.C. (2016). “Decision Making”. Retrieved on January 20, 2016 from http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2016/01/decision-making.html

Sunstar.com.ph, (2016).  “NGCP Mindanao Grid to Collapse if Bombing Continues”. Retrieved on January 20, 2016 from http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/business/2016/01/08/ngcp-mindanao-grid-collapse-if-bombing-continues-450559

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