Bicol region under massive brownouts due to typhoon Rolly

Published November 2, 2020, 11:58 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The wrath of super typhoon Rolly had been terribly felt in all provinces of the Bicol region; and consumers in the area are now groping in the dark because of massive brownouts that had been trigged by damaged power facilities.


Power utility companies indicated that as the extreme weather disturbance would traverse various areas in Luzon and Visayas, millions of Filipino consumers are anticipated to suffer from interruptions or would be losing their electricity supply at some point.

An initial report from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) stated that 10 electric cooperatives (ECs) already lost power supply as of 8:00am on Sunday (November 1); and that was immediately after the super typhoon’s landfall in Catanduanes and Albay.

Consumers affected were those in Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon and Ticao Island in Masbate. 

As of this writing, there are no definitive commitments yet from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the power utilities, as to when the crippling brownouts will last especially in the severely battered areas of the typhoon’s path.

And while consumers are problematic about power supply at the duration of the typhoon’s ransacking, the DOE reported that several power plants were also on unplanned outages – particularly: the 150-megawatt Unit 1 of the South Luzon Power Generation Corporation (SLPGC) due to boiler tube leak; 140MW Unit 1 of the Bacon-Manito geothermal power facility which was placed on emergency shutdown; and the 1,200MW Ilijan plant which was on total shutdown to prevent plant damage or sudden disconnection to the grid.

Further, the National Power Corporation (NPC) reported that spilling operations were carried out for the Ambuklao and Binga dams; but it was emphasized that this will not cause flooding in “flood warning zones”; primarily in Bokod and Itogon municipalities.

The state-run firm said it is continuously conducting intensive basin monitoring and analysis, and “disseminating pertinent dam discharge warning information to the public and all concerned agencies.”

By 9:00am on Sunday, system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said at least 16 of its transmission lines already were downed by the severe weather disturbance, specifically in Catanduanes then with the typhoon sustaining its intensity, it also ransacked the provinces of Albay, Caramines Sur and Camarines Norte.

The unavailable transmission lines include those in: Gumaca-Lopez-Tagkawayan; Labo-Paracale; Labo-Talisay; Naga-Libmanan; Naga-Lagonoy; Naga-Tinambac; Naga-Concepcion; Naga-Iriga; Daraga-Sorsogon; Sorsogon-Bulan; Sorsogon-Sorsogon; Ligao-Dunao; Daraga-Ligao; Tiwi-Malinao-Tabaco; Daraga-Legaspi; and Daraga-Sto Domingo lines.

The transmission firm also noted that eight of its 230-kilovolt lines are unavailable, hence, massively affecting consumers in the Bicol region.

“The loss of power may be caused by affected transmission facilities of NGCP or distribution facilities of local distribution facilities of electric cooperatives,” the transmission company explained.

It added that “specific cities and municipalities affected by the power interruptions are determined by concerned DUs, unless the outage affects the entire franchise area.”

Notably, the country’s electric cooperatives had just restored power service affected by typhoon Quinta, which also walloped the country just recently – then they will be overwhelmed again with even bigger dilemma of power interruptions with the devastation of super typhoon Rolly.

NEA just reported on Friday (October 30) that the initial cost of damage wrought by storm Quinta on EC facilities had been placed at P50.922 million.

Hardest hit had been Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (ORMECO) which logged P14.659 million worth of damage on its facilities, according to NEA’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department.

Other ECs that had been severely affected were those of Camarines Sur IV Electric Cooperative for P9.479 million; then Marinduque Electric Cooperative with P8.476 million; Camarines Sur III Electric Cooperative for P5.523 million; and Camarines Sur II Electric Cooperative with P4.585 million worth of facilities damaged.