NGCP conducts blackout drill

Published May 20, 2022, 4:20 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

To prevent service disruptions to its load customers, system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has carried out “blackout drill”, an annual activity to reinforce the reliability of its operations.

In a statement to the media, the transmission firm indicated that the “blackout drills” have been done across all grids of its operations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, “to secure the continuity of power transmission services.”

“We conduct the blackout drill every year because it is critical that every power stakeholder knows their role in the event of a system collapse,” said NGCP.

Apart from NGCP personnel, other participants in the blackout drills are industry players, including the Department of Energy, Energy Regulatory Commission, National Transmission Corporation, Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation.

The firm has been conducting the annual undertaking because “when everyone understands their part in the system, we are able to effectively communicate, efficiently respond, and recover from a blackout.”

The company emphasized that the whole exercise covered table-top discussions or the theoretical facet of the drill; and the participants also needed to undergo simulation activities or practical applications of what they have learned from the training.

In particular, the range of discussions included black start services, actual restoration experiences, blackout restoration guidelines and procedures, as well as workshops focusing on area-specific blackout restoration highways.

Then a week after the tabletop presentations, simulation drill mirroring actual blackout scenarios had been undertaken – that way, the participants could put into practice their acquired skills in efficiently addressing concerns during blackout incidents and how electricity service restoration processes can be hastened,

This year’s theme had been anchored mainly on “cutting down restoration time,” which entails then that NGCP must be able to bring back power service at a faster pace in case service interruptions occur.

The transmission firm qualified that the whole scope of the blackout drill “highlights the importance of past experiences and moving forward to lessen recovery time in the event of a system blackout.”

The causes of blackout incidents in the country had been wide and varied through the years – ranging from storm-tossed tree branches falling on to power lines; slash-and-burn activities that have been affecting transmission facilities; assaults on transmission assets by lawless elements; and the most common factor had been natural calamities – especially super typhoons and earthquakes.