NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
Boholanos will start the coming new year with the fear of having power blackouts whenever the power source from Leyte gets interrupted.
Aside from calamities, power demand in the province continues to increase due to the booming tourism industry triggering a rapid growth in the construction business particularly in Panglao, Dauis municipalities including Tagbilaran City.
Total power demand at peak load usually at 7 in the evening is 93 megawatts while available power for now is only 140 megawatts.
Due to Typhoon Ursula power from Leyte went off two hours before midnight on Christmas Day bringing the entire province to a total power blackout. What could have been a joyous welcome for Christmas Day turned into a blue Christmas as electricity went off 10:30pm on Christmas eve bringing darkness in all homes who were ready for their traditional Noche Buena.
Twice on Christmas week, Leyte hitches brought about by Typhoon Ursula gripped the entire Bohol in total power shutdown.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) reported that “a total of 14 towers and 59 transmission structures were found damaged by the storm”.
NGCP deployed a total of 29 line gangs or 232 personnel to the affected areas to expedite restoration works.
“Two helicopters were also dedicated to the area to expedite site inspection and hauling of emergency restoration systems,” according to NGCP.
Noche Buena in Bohol had to be shared in darkness as the typhoon damaged transmission lines of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines in Leyte which cut transmission of power supply to Bohol starting at 10:36 p.m. on December 24.
The problem in Leyte rendered unavailable, the Ubay-Alicia-Garcia 69kV Line, affecting the service areas of BOHECO I and BOHECO II as of 10:36 p.m. on December 24.
By 10:59 p.m. on the same night, the Tagbilaran-Garcia 69kV Line also became unavailable, affecting also the service areas of BOHECO I and BOHECO II.
Power transmission facilities was restored at around 5 a.m. the morning after in some areas, and around 7 a.m. in other areas.
The Ubay-Trinidad-Carmen 69kV Line also shut down from 10:36 p.m. on December 24 to 5:15 a.m. on December 25, also affecting the service areas of BOHECO I and BOHECO II.
During such period of time, the Tagbilaran area, served by Bohol Light Company, Inc. also experienced the total power shutdown.
According to NGCP, there were three 138-kV lines and three 230-kV lines which tripped at that time “due to the passage of the typhoon, affecting transmission services in entire Samar island, Leyte, Biliran, and Bohol”.
Bohol again suffered another blackout in the afternoon on December 26 due to loss of power supply from Leyte which is the main source of the bulk of power supply in Bohol.
The unscheduled power service interruption started at 3:39 p.m. and power supply resumed at 4:12 p.m.
NGCP explained that “the loss of power supply from Leyte was due to the tripping of Ormoc-Maasin 138kv Lines 1 and 2, which supply power to Bohol”.
The power service interruption affected all the service areas of Bohol Light, BOHECO I and BOHECO II or a total blackout in entire province.
“At 5:22 p.m. on December 27, the Lemon-Tunga Line segment of the Ormoc-San Isidro 69kV line was energized, completing restoration of all lines serving LEYECO III in Leyte.
As of 10 a.m. on December 25, NGCP had energized the following transmission lines in Visayas: Paranas-Bliss 69kV Line, affecting customers of SAMELCO II at 7:00-7:02 p.m. on December 24; Tolosa-San Isidro 69kV Line, affecting customers of DORELCO at 5:58 p.m.-6:05 p.m. on December 24; and the Ubay-Trinidad-Carmen 69kV Line which affected customers of BOHECO I and BOHECO II from 10:36 p.m. on 24 December 24 until 5:15 a.m. on December 25.
By then, the following lines in Visayas were still unavailable starting at different points in time on December 24: Paranas-Taft-Borongan 69kV Line, affecting customers of ESAMELCO starting 3:49 p.m.; Borongan-Quinapondan 69kV Line, affecting customers of ESAMELCO starting 1:50 p.m.; Ormoc-San Isidro 69kV Line, affecting customers of LEYECO V, BILECO, LEYECO III, and DORELCO starting 6:21 p.m.; Babatngon-Apitong-Arado 69kV Line, affecting customers of LEYECO II starting at 6:13 p.m.; Ormoc-Baybay 69kV Line, affecting customers in LEYECO IV and LEYECO V starting at 7:53 p.m.; Palanas-Cara-Catarman-Allen-Lao-ang 69kV Line, affecting customers of NORSAMELCO starting at 6:57 p.m.; and the Ubay-Alicia-Garcia 69kV Line, affecting customers of BOHECO I and BOHECO II starting at 10:36 p.m.; and the Tagbilaran-Garcia 69kV Line starting 10:59 p.m.
Several areas South Luzon such as Sorsogon, and Western Visayas such as Aklan and Iloilo were also affected.
NGCP had to wait for the weather to calm down before they could proceed with full swing inspection and restoration of lines in the affected areas.
NGCP, however, explained that in certain instances “loss of power supply could have been caused by affected transmission facilities of NGCP or distribution facilities of local distribution utilities or electric cooperatives.
“Specific cities and municipalities affected by the power interruptions are determined by concerned Distribution Utilities, unless the outage affects the entire franchise area,” according to NGCP.
NGCP “continues with the aerial inspection and foot patrol of all areas affected by Typhoon Ursula, given the difficulty in accessibility of certain areas devastated by the storm due to floods and landslides”.
It explained that “mobilization of line personnel and equipment continue, and simultaneous restoration activities are being conducted on the areas already accessible”.
As of 11 a.m. on December 28, NGCP had already restored the following transmission line: Lemon-Tunga 69kV Line Segment, affecting LEYECO III from 6:21 p.m. on December 24 until 5:22 p.m. on December 27.
The following transmission lines in Visayas remained unavailable: Nabas-Sapian 69kV Line, affecting AKELCO since 5:47 a.m. on December 25; Nabas-Caticlan 69kV Line, affecting AKELCO since 7:56 a.m. on December 25; Borongan-Quinapondan 69kV Line, affecting ESAMELCO since 1:50 p.m. on December 24; and Ormoc-San Isidro 69kV Line, affecting DORELCO since 6:21 p.m. on December 2019 24;
The Concepcion-Sara-Estancia 69kV Line, affecting ILECO III which was unavailable since 2:44 a.m. of December 25 was partially energized.