By Myrna M. Velasco
Protection of right-of-way (ROW) areas along transmission lines is being asked so power interruptions could be avoided especially when demand would peak during the summer months.
Transmission service provider National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) warned that if ROW areas are being obstructed, such as the three incidents that it just recorded recently in Pampanga and Pangasinan, it is not far-fetched that power supply flow in the grid could be compromised.
It cited that on January 7 this year, a dump truck hit into a transmission pole in San Simon, Pampanga – toppling the facility and had in turn caused localized brownouts affecting NGCP’s directly connected industries.
Additionally, on the latter part of January, another truck ran into the Labrador-Bolinao 69-kilovolt transmission line of NGCP, and this had cut off power supply to consumers in the affected areas,
NGCP has been constantly reminding the public about the importance of not impeding the right-of-way domains of power utilities because such could impact adversely on the provision of electricity service to consumers.
The transmission firm emphasized that “our ROW clearances are in place not only to guard our lines from damage,” noting further that “the clearances are primarily there to protect the integrity of the grid.”
On the more specific sphere, it noted that “when objects such as billboards breach these distances, they don’t need to physically touch the line for electricity to jump and flow through the object in breach.”
To duly protect NGCP power lines, it has been prescribed that there are certain distances that must be observed away from the facilities: chiefly a 15-meter circumference around the center of a 69kV tower; 30 meters for 115kV and 138kV towers; 40 meters for 230kV towers; 50 meters for 350kV towers and 60 meters for 500kV towers.
The transmission firm further cautioned on “putting up any structure or doing any construction work near or underneath transmission lines as these might breach ROW clearances and cause unnecessary power interruptions.”
The other dilemma of the transmission company is on ‘informal settlers’ that have been residing dangerously close to its facilities, stressing that it is not only power interruptions that are being feared here, but also probable human deaths.