Toppled tower causes power outages in GenSan

Edwin G. Espejo

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Half the power supply in General Santos was cut off after armed men toppled a transmission tower in Kabacan, Cotabato

SOLE BLACKOUT SURVIVOR. Sydney Hotel in downtown General Santos was the only illuminated building evening of September 30, 2013 after the local electric cooperative imposed a two 3.5-h daily blackout as a result of the toppling of an NGCP tower in Kabacan, Cotabato. Photo by Edwin Espejo

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Half the power supply in General Santos was cut off after armed men toppled a transmission tower in Kabacan, Cotabato Friday (September 27) last week, the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative said in an advisory Monday, September 30.

“It adversely caused line congestion in the NGCP [National Grid Corp of the Philippines] transmission line to Kabacan and to Simuay sub-station in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao,” said Geronimo Desesto, Socoteco 2 chief for institutional services.

The toppling of the transmission tower also cut the cooperative’s power supply coming from Mapalad Power Corporation and Therma Marine Inc.

The two privately-owned power generating firm supply at least 45 megawatts (MW) of Socoteco’s 105-MW peak load requirement.

As a result, Socoteco 2 imposed 3.5-hour power interruptions beginning Monday in its franchise area, which covers General Santos, Sarangani and the towns of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.

An advisory from the cooperative indicated that the brownouts will last until October 2, Wednesday or longer.

“Being at the tail-end of the transmission loop, Socoteco II suffered very low load-to-maintain (LTM) allocation,” Desesto said in an email.

He explained that the move was to avoid tripping off of SPPC and Mt. Apo Geothermal Power Plants.

Socoteco II said power curtailment will be observed until the toppled tower is fixed.

According to the NGCP, it will take up to 7 days to fix the tower and restore normal power supply.

On Monday, the military said heavily armed men planted explosives at an NGCP transmission tower in Barangay Kayaga in Kabacan, cutting off power supply in south central Mindanao.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the bombing but tower blasts have coincided with clashes between Moro rebel groups and government troops.

Last Friday, the armed siege in Zamboanga City led by the Moro National Liberation Front entered its 3rd week although the government said the rebellion was over Monday.

The MNLF still maintains armed regulars in south central Mindanao. –

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