Negros Occidental

NGCP not culprit in Panay, Negros Occidental blackout – Bacolod chamber 

Erwin Delilan

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NGCP not culprit in Panay, Negros Occidental blackout – Bacolod chamber 

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

'It's the generation or the supplies that failed, not NGCP,' says Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Frank Carbon

BACOLOD, Philippines – The Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) on Sunday, March 3, called on local officials and power consumers to go slow on the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) following the March 1 blackout in Panay Island and parts of Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City.

Frank Carbon, MBCCI chief executive officer, said on Sunday, March 3, that the Friday blackout was not a transmission problem.

“It’s the generation or the supplies that failed, not NGCP. How misinformed can we be?” said Carbon, who also serves as co-chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (PCCI) committee on energy and power in the Visayas.

Carbon came to the NGCP’s defense after local officials and consumers blamed the NGCP for the March 1 blackout, which happened two months after the region suffered two weeks of power outages during the first two weeks of 2024.

“Let’s not turn the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines into a chopping board because of the unscheduled blackout that hit Panay Island and portions of Negros Occidental on March 1,” he said.

The NGCP has repeatedly denied that the problem was caused by its transmission facilities.

Caused by plant shutdown

The Department of Energy (DOE), in a public advisory on Saturday, March 2, said the power outage was caused by three power generators at the coal-fired Iloilo City-based Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC) malfunctioning.

According to the DOE, PEDC went into shutdown, resulting in a partial blackout of the Panay sub-grid and some parts of Negros starting at 6:59 pm on Friday.

One of the PEDC power generating units came back online around 9:53 pm on Friday, followed by another unit at 11:22 pm, and the third at 8:55 am on Saturday, March 2, said the energy department.

Call for probe

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas called for an investigation into the recurring power supply problem in Panay and Negros, saying the NGCP was not off the hook yet.

This shouldn’t be allowed to go on. Our people are all affected. The power situation should be addressed,” Treñas said.

He said he would meet with all the energy stakeholders in Western Visayas to discuss the power situation in the region this week.

Local officials in Iloilo City said a civil case was being prepared against NGCP.

Power-generation capacity

Panay Island gets its power supply from four large coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of 451 megawatts, along with nine smaller diesel-powered and other plants generating 220.3 MW.

The large coal-fired plants include three units of PEDC and one unit of Palm Concepcion Power Corporation (PCPC). 

The DOE said that in addition to the large generators on the island, 180 MW are being transmitted from Negros to Panay through a submarine cable. The total power demand for Panay Island is below 400 MW.

Currently, one of the large coal power plants, PCPC, is undergoing regular maintenance shutdown until March 30, according to the DOE.

Informative drive

Carbon said it wouldn’t be fair for officials and power consumers in Panay and Negros to pin the blame on NGCP alone.

He said that PCCI would take a more aggressive role in carrying out an information and education campaign so that local power consumers would know and understand the roles of the DOE, NGCP, the National Power Corporation (Napocor), and independent power producers. –

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