Right-of-way issues prevent NGCP from fixing critical power lines

Right-of-way issues prevent NGCP from fixing critical power lines
(2nd UPDATE) DOE appeals to LGUs and land owners to cooperate with NGCP in resolving the transmission issues on right-of-way and easements

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is seeking the immediate assistance of the government and members of the Philippine Army to help resolve right-of-way (ROW) issues involving one of its lines that threatens power supply to Mindanao.

On Tuesday, October 20, Department of Energy (DOE) OIC-Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada said in a statement, “we appeal particularly to the local government units and land owners to cooperate with NGCP, the concessionaire of the national transmission lines, in resolving the transmission issues on right-of-way and easements.”

“To prevent unwarranted power supply disruptions and avoid power-related incidents to occur, distribution utilities and NGCP should be given right to access or traverse designated area of the real property to ensure that potential hazards are proactively managed before they encroached on the power lines,” Monsada added.

On October 19, the grid operator said it already sent an urgent request to DOE and the Philippine Army to assist in the negotiations with landowners and clearing of the lines, respectively, as soon as possible.

“NGCP is seeking all avenues of support, from the DOE to the military to the public. We are also appealing to the local government units for a resolution prohibiting tree-planting and building any structure under transmission lines,” the grid operator said.

Sustained tripping of the Agus 2-Kibawe Line 1 in Mindanao has been observed since Saturday morning, October 17.

The isolation of an additional 260 megawatts (MW)  from Agus 1 and Agus 2 power plants will likely result in an hour or two of power outage in the Mindanao grid, on top of the existing power shortfall currently experienced in the area, said Gildo Listano, NGCP head of operations and maintenance.

“The tripping of the line was caused by a fallen tree cutting the line conductors. This leaves NGCP with only one line catering to the Agus 1 and 2 power plants and threatening the entire Mindanao island with complete isolation from these hydropower plants should the remaining line become unavailable,” the company stated in statement on Sunday night, October 18.

The situation is aggravated as NGCP said that landowners have refused to allow NGCP personnel to enter their properties to clear and restore these lines which are vital to the grid.

“It has become the practice of some uncooperative landowners to intentionally plant trees or build structures under high voltage transmission lines, and demand for recompense when we seek entry into the property to conduct maintenance activities,” the grid operator said.

The trees and other structures under our facilities breach our safety clearances and endanger the reliability of the entire grid, NGCP added.

The frequent dips in voltage and frequency severely affect both household appliances and industrial equipment.

“This does not only affect NGCP or the hydroplants, which form the bulk of their power supply, but all the power consumers in Mindanao stand to bear even longer power interruptions,” the company said. – Rappler.com

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