Western Visayas

LGUs, businesses call for probe into Western Visayas blackout

John Sitchon

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LGUs, businesses call for probe into Western Visayas blackout

BLACKOUT. Residents and workers do their tasks under candlelight after a massive blackout hits Iloilo City on January 2.

Arnold Almacen/Iloilo City Mayor's Office

'The power outages that sent the entire Panay island and portions of Negros Island into darkness since yesterday warrant scrutiny by the House of Representatives,' Iloilo City Representative Julienne Baronda says

CEBU, Philippines –  Local governments and business groups have called on Congress to investigate the power outages which have severely affected parts of Western Visayas since Tuesday, January 2.

Various city officials like Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas have already expressed their dismay over the isolation of the islands due to the power interruptions and were concerned over the impact of the outage on educational institutions, hospitals, and even local government operations.

According to its Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion (LEDIP), the Iloilo City lost some P400 million to P500 million in the first two working days of 2024.

Businesses have also felt the brunt of the power outages on their day-to-day operations and transactions. 

“The power blackout has, regrettably, disrupted normal operations for numerous businesses, hindering productivity and causing inconvenience to our residents,” the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation, Inc. (ILEDF) said in a statement.

On Thursday morning, January 4, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. called a meeting with neighboring governors and city officials in Western Visayas, and representatives of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), the Department of Energy, and the Energy Regulatory Commission to address the region-wide power outage.

Warrants scrutiny

For Iloilo City District Representative Julienne “Jam” Baronda, the blackout warrants an investigation by the legislature.

“The power outages that sent the entire Panay island and portions of Negros Island into darkness since yesterday warrant scrutiny by the House of Representatives,” Baronda said in a statement on Wednesday, January 3.

Baronda said that the Committee on Energy (COE) still hasn’t concluded its investigation on the April 2023 regional blackout and yet another incident is burdening residents in the region. 

“It seems that those responsible and accountable have yet to learn their lesson,” she added.

Multiple trippings

In a press release on Wednesday, the NGCP said that power outage this week which isolated Panay Island from the Visayas grid was due to the tripping of multiple power plants.

“The unscheduled maintenance shutdowns of the largest power plants in Panay island was the primary cause of the power interruption,” the organization added.

According to NGCP’s data, 451 megawatts (MW) or 68.75% of the 656 MW total in-island generation of the Panay sub-grid was lost during the incident.

As of 11 am on Thursday, NGCP announced in an update that Panay power plants were serving 209.5 MW and are augmented with 32.6 MW from other sources in the region.

NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza said in an interview on DWIZ 882AM that a total of 6 plants were simultaneously hit by unplanned outages.

As of this writing, the investigation into the cause of the power trips is still ongoing. 

“Until makita namin yung buong larawan ng January 2, ipagbabangain natin yung datos ni NGCP sa reports ng mga power plant…mahirap po tayong magspeculate at this point,” Alabanza said.

(Until we can see the full picture of what happened on January 2, we will review NGCP’s data with the reports of the power plants…it’s difficult to speculate at this point) – Rappler.com

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