Vegetation and trees intentionally planted along the right-of-way of transmission lines endanger the reliability of the entire power grid.
Power grid operator NGCP implemented its blackout restoration procedures in the affected portions of Western Mindanao to immediately bring back electricity transmission services to customers on 24 September 2015.
Per initial investigation, trees and vegetation planted along the Baloi-Aurora 138-kV line in Taytay, Ditucalan, Iligan City, in clear violation of the company’s right-of-way policy, breached the recommended safety clearance and caused the line to trip at 9:35 AM.
This resulted in power interruptions affecting the entire Zamboanga Peninsula as well as Misamis Occidental, and parts of Lanao del Norte.
A second line delivering power to Zamboanga Peninsula, the Agus 5-Aurora 138-kV line, was on scheduled maintenance shutdown. The maintenance activity, necessary to keep all lines in good working order, was aborted to bring back the power immediately to the affected areas.
The Agus 5-Aurora 138-kV line was energized at 11:02 AM, restoring power to Zamboanga Peninsula. The Baloi–Aurora 138-kV line, on the other hand, was energized at 1:13 PM after trees and vegetation that caused the fault were cleared.
NGCP commits to vigilantly monitor the grid for similar incidents that cause disturbance to the grid and vows to restore transmission services at the soonest possible time. “This, however, has proven to be a challenge for us,” the company said. “It has become the practice of some uncooperative landowners to intentionally plant trees or build structures under NGCP lines, and demand for recompense when we seek entry into the property to conduct maintenance activities. The trees and other structures under our facilities breach our safety clearances and endanger the reliability of the entire grid. This is exactly what happened today,” NGCP stressed.
NGCP has repeatedly warned the public that trees and other structures under transmission facilities breach safety clearances and endanger the reliability of the entire grid.
“These lines are crucial to the delivery of electricity from the power sources to the Mindanaoan consumers. We are seeking the aid of the provincial governments in the area by asking them to support our efforts against these uncooperative landowners, and when relevant, issue a resolution prohibiting tree-planting and building of structures under transmission lines,” NGCP stated.
The right-of-way condition has elevated the Mindanao grid to a critical level by threatening the entire island with rotating power interruptions due to aggravated generation deficiency caused by transmission lines overrun by vegetation. “Right-of-way remains one of the biggest stumbling blocks for new projects as well as regular maintenance activities. We hope that these errant landowners will allow us to conduct our maintenance activities without resistance, for the sake of all electricity consumers in Mindanao,” NGCP said.
NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid. It transmits high-voltage electricity through “power superhighways” that include the interconnected system of transmission lines, towers, substations, and related assets. The consortium, which holds the 25-year concession contract to operate the country’s power transmission network, is comprised of Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp., led by Henry Sy, Jr., Calaca High Power Corporation, led by Robert Coyiuto, Jr., and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) as technical partner.