PAGADIAN CITY – The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), the country’s grid operator, is facing a problem in the operation and maintenance of their power lines.
Thus, disclosed Engr. Armand S. Dysico, NGCP’s district I operations and maintenance head, during the weekly media forum organized by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA-9), at Hotel Alindahaw, this city.
Dysico said NGCP’s Mindanao grid is experiencing a major problem due to rampant right-of-way (ROW) violations committed by some residents in Lanao del Norte.
“The Mindanao grid is now experiencing a major problem in Lanao del Norte, particularly in Balo-i substation where 138 kV lines and 169 kV lines are not operational due to vegetation,” Dysico reported.
“The presence of vegetation below these power lines has adverse impact on the power situation in Mindanao,” Dysico said adding that when tall trees touch the lines, it will cause power outages.
In a recent inspection on the area, they have observed that some landowners have planted trees underneath the lines. “The growing of trees was intentionally done since there are no trees planted in the open field,” he added.
“With this, NGCP in Mindanao had to pay off landowners to uproot the trees planted underneath the transmission lines,” Dysico announced.
He said the NGCP negotiated with the concerned landowners but only few have agreed. Most of them refused to negotiate because they demanded huge amount of money in exchange for their request.
When asked why this problem had cropped up, Dysico said NGCP officials have observed that during the time when TransCo was still in operation, there were only a few ROW problems encountered. “But when it was about to be privatized, some landowners started planting trees under the transmission lines and refused negotiations,” he added.
Meanwhile, Regional Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Officer Elizabeth Ladaga said the Baloi substation in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte is considered as the heart of Mindanao grid saying that four (4) of the hydropower plants, namely: Baloi Agus 2 138KV line no. 1; Baloi-Agus 2 138KV line no. 2; Balo-I Agus 4 line no. 2; and Abaga-Agus VI 69KV line are situated in Balo-i.
Ladaga said on June 4, 2015, Baloi-Agus 2 138KV line 2 no. 1 and 2 tripped off due to critical vegetation. Fortunately, line 1 was restored when the breaker was reclosed. However, line 2 did not render service, and the said line is out of service up to the present.
Accordingly, some 500 megawatts produced by the hydropower plants will pass through Balo-i substation.
She said NGCP’s ROW problem in Balo-i has caused frequent line tripping or brownouts, not just in the town, but also in the western region of Mindanao.
Ladaga said the NGCP had filed expropriation proceedings so it can pay off landowners, but the transmission company may have to shell out more money to pay the tree planters in Balo-i.
“We have already filed 6 expropriation cases in the court,” she concluded. (PIA9)