NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Just when Covid-19 restrictions were gradually eased and with Christmas just around the corner, province-wide power blackout that started at dusk on December 16, 2021, will stretch through the New Year with full power restoration remains uncertain.
An earlier statement from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) portrayed a gloomy scenario as Typhoon Odette shut down over 30 transmission lines in the Visayas and Mindanao that will take a month for the power supply in Central Visayas to return to normal.
However, Betty Martinez, NGCP spokesperson for the Visayas texted the Chronicle late last night that “aerial inspection was conducted today and we have identified damaged structures in Bohol and Southern Leyte” and “we have yet to determine the estimated date of restoration though.”
“Rest assured NGCP will exert efforts to restore power as soon as possible,” said Martinez.
NGCP is the sole and exclusive operator of the country’s nationwide transmission network majority-owned by Synergy Grid and Development Phils. of Henry Sy and Roberto Coyiuto Jr. and 40% stake by State Grid Corporation of China.
Telecommunication and internet services were also severely disrupted with no clear-cut assurance as to when connections will be back online.
In May 2017, NGCP was accused by Transco of allowing telecommunication firms to mount their fiber optic cables on its transmission towers in violation of the terms of its contract.
The NGCP advisory on December 17, 2021, listed the transmission lines unavailable due to Typhoon Odette as Ubay-Alicia-Garcia Hernandez 69kv line affecting customers of the Bohol Electric Cooperative (Boheco) II, the Ubay-Trinidad-Carmen 69kv involving consumers of Boheco 1 and II.
Fourteen other 138kv lines are also unavailable, affecting the entire province of Bohol including the 350kv High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) line and two 230kv lines, according to the NGCP press release.
DU’S HARD PRESSED
Bohol Light Company Incorporated (BLCI), in a public advisory on December 18, 2021, will start clearing electric poles and wires obstructing city roads and highways before the rehabilitation of its distribution system especially all main lines to ensure that all feeders are in running order.
BLCI is now awaiting the official statement of NGCP on its restoration schedule after the completion of its damage assessment to formalize the “precise timeline as to when power supply would be restored” in Tagbilaran City.
Boheco 1 informed its consumers that restoration of the power supply in their area will be “held in abeyance” and their restoration team will be immediately deployed once their safety is guaranteed.
Boheco 1 assured its consumers that within six days two feeders of the Macaas Substation in Tubigon will be ready to restore power once NGCP and their “power suppliers are also ready.”
Boheco II is also in the midst of restoration works in preparation for the full restoration of power to their customers.
The three Distribution Utilities. with more than 315,000 customers rely on submarine cable from the town of Ubay to Maasin, Southern Leyte, and connected from Maasin to Ormoc City.
Despite the presence of generation plants in Bohol, an outage similar to the present power blackout, the whole island becomes isolated from the rest of the Visayas Grid and its sources of power supply. (Chito M. Visarra)