Leyte provincial board to investigate power outages

TACLOBAN CITY—The continued power outage  experienced in Eastern Visayas is becoming a serious concern for local businesses and potential investors in the region.

This is despite assurances made by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) that line problems caused by the July 6 strong earthquake has already been fixed.

“We have been receiving negative feedback about the power situation in Leyte. This is a worry among businessmen and a concern of potential investors planning to do business in the province,” Leyte Vice Gov. Carlo Loreto said.

Loreto added the Leyte provincial board will conduct hearings on the power-supply status in Eastern Visayas. He said the board will invite all general managers of five electric cooperatives in the province, as well as officials of the NGCP.

“This is a major concern now for every household and the business community,” Loreto added. No date has been set yet on when the hearing will be conducted.

The Department of Energy announced that power was fully restored on July 28 in Leyte, Samar and Bohol Island ahead of their July 30 schedule.

On July 29 the NGCP reported completion of the repairs done on the 150- Megavolt-ampere (MVA) Transformer 1 at its Ormoc substation ahead of its self-imposed deadline. Transformer 1 was subjected to replacement of earthquake-damaged parts and retesting before commissioning.

The completion of repairs on the third transformer allows the NGCP to transmit the maximum power demands of the region and Bohol during its peak hours. The NGCP earlier successfully energized the 150-MVA Transformer 3 on July 13 and the 150-MVA Transformer 2 on July 28.

“This is over and above its earlier July 31 commitment to energize just two transformers,” the NGCP said in a statement. The last remaining damaged transformer, Transformer 6, is still undergoing testing and corrective repair, along with the earthquake-damaged High Voltage Direct Current link, whose parts are awaiting replacement.

“The NGCP is pleased to report that with Transformer 1’s energization, Ormoc substation now has three online 230-[kilovolt] /138-kV transformers, with a total maximum transmission capability of 405 MW [megawatts], in addition to the 40MW being transmitted from the Tongonan power plant,” a statement it issued on June 30 said.

“NGCP’s Ormoc substation is now more than capable of transmitting the entire 349-MW projected-maximum load for the earthquake-affected provinces of Leyte, Samar, Bohol and Biliran,” it added. “This means that, for so long as there is sufficient supply from the power plants in the Visayas grid, there will be no more grid-induced rotating power interruptions.”

On Thursday last week the NGCP said the Visayas grid is on “red alert” due to a generation deficiency, a warning it issued for four straight days starting Monday.

“The Visayas grid is on red alert due to generation deficiency resulting from temporary unavailability of one generating unit from Palm Concepcion Power Plant and some units from geothermal plants in Leyte,” the advisory said.

On that day, the NGCP reported the available capacity on the grid was only 1,928 MW, lower than the 1,840-MW peak demand.

“The NGCP is working to restore the earthquake-damaged converter station in Ormoc to allow import of power from Luzon,” the advisory added.

“The public is advised to contact their local distribution utilities for more information, as some areas may experience rotational power interruptions because of the generation deficiency.”

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