More than 500,000 customers in Luzon and thousands more of Visayas customers suffered brownouts because of typhoon-induced trippings of transmission lines as well as damages incurred by power facilities.
As of press time, however, the Department of Energy (DOE) was not able to give update on the brownout-stricken areas because Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi was busy with his ‘political job’ with the PDP-Laban Party’s convention; hence, setting aside his task again at the department even if many Filipinos have been groping in darkness.
When asked by the media on the actual figure of affected customers, the DOE simply stated that there was “no update” from the National Electrification Administration – even for the storm-pummeled areas in the Visayas.
In the franchise area of Manila Electric Company (Meralco), company vice president and spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga noted that “around 500,000 customers were affected by automatic load dropping” or power services interruptions earlier hours of Wednesday.
As of press time, Meralco indicated that restoration was still ongoing for about 270,000 customers – and these are mainly in the provinces of Batangas, Cavite and Laguna.
The power utility firm emphasized that the blackout incidents in its service areas had been mainly triggered by the isolation of several power plants — including the San Lorenzo, San Gabriel and Avion gas plants – “due to the tripping of the Batangas-Makban transmission line” after tropical storm Jolina’s battering in the area.
With that line tripping incident, it was specified that about 730 megawatts of capacity had been taken out from the system, hence, the need to implement rotational brownouts in various areas in the Luzon grid.
“Our crews will continue to work 24/7 in order to restore power at the soonest possible time,” Zaldarriaga stressed.
No exact timeframe had been given yet on when electricity services will be fully restored in all service areas of Meralco.
For the affected transmission lines, system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), stated that as of 1:00pm (Wednesday), one 230-kilovolt (kV) and at least four 69-kilovolt (kV) lines were still unavailable: and these included Bay-Calamba line; Paranas-Borongan-Quinapondan line; Sta Rita-Quinapondan line; and Calbayog-Bliss line.
The customers affected by these line trippings include those that are served by the Batangas II Electric Cooperative; Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative; and Samar Electric Cooperative.
NGCP said it has “mobilized line crews and is currently conducting patrols to inspect and assess the impact of the severe tropical storm to its operations and facilities – and simultaneous restoration activities are being conducted on the areas already accessible.” ###