DOE wants to make power facilities earthquake-proof

The Department of Energy-Energy Policy and Planning Bureau (DOE-EPPB) is drafting a policy on resiliency planning and programs for the energy sector.

The program aims to strengthen existing infrastructure facilities to withstand adverse weather conditions and incorporate mitigation improvements into the restoration of damaged infrastructure “so that recurrence will cause less damage”.

Moreover, the proposed program would help improve operational and maintenance standards and practices to ensure expeditious restoration of energy supply after adverse weather conditions.

This, after a series of earthquakes rocked Batangas, Mindoro and other adjacent areas over the weekend.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology  reported that between 3:07 p.m. and 3:09 p.m. of April 7 successive earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.6 and 6, respectively, jolted Mabini, Batangas, affecting houses and major infrastructure, including energy facilities.

While the earthquake caused power interruptions, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) reported it fully restored at 3:45 p.m. of April all transmission facilities in areas affected by the tripping of generation plants due to the earthquakes that occurred at 3:08 p.m. of the same day.

According to the NGCP’s report, the Batangas-San Lorenzo Lines 1 and 2 were affected with an initial report on a toppled tower, and the switchyard at the San Gabriel Natural Gas Power Plant was also damaged due to the earthquake.

The report also stated a generation loss of 2,584 megawatts, which affected the power supply and services of various provinces in Luzon, including Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Bataan, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi reminded the public to adopt safety precautions in using energy.

“We want to remind everyone to adopt appropriate safety precautions and be prudent in their energy use to ensure their family is safe when a disaster, such as an earthquake, strikes,” Cusi said.

Among others, Cusi suggested that a periodic check for earthquake hazards posed by appliances that could move and cause rupture of electrical or gas lines. Following a similar check should be done before using those appliances.

Cusi also said fire hazards and flammable fluids, such as kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas, solvents or cleaning products should be stored properly.

In addition, Cusi reminded the public to prepare their own earthquake emergency kit at home that could include, food, water, medicine, flashlight, whistle, as well as plan to communicate with their family in times of emergency or disaster.

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