Power utility directed to fix line which caused Luzon grid brownouts

Published June 24, 2022, 4:47 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) has directed the Peninsula Electric Cooperative, Inc. (PENELCO) in Bataan to help fix the line that plagued parts of Luzon into blackouts last weekend.

According to NEA Engineering Department Manager Federico P. Villar, Jr. and Principal Engineer Bonifacio T. David, the suggestion was “to look into the feasibility that the electric cooperative, in collaboration with the NGCP (National Grid Corporation of the Philippines), can extend assistance.”

NEA Administrator Emmanuel P. Juaneza primarily instructed PENELCO “to survey or inspect those lines to avoid the same problem” from recurring in the future to the detriment of the Filipino consumers.

In turn, the electric cooperative concurred and “suggested a joint inspection with NGCP to better resolve the matter.”

The June 18 power service interruption had afflicted millions of electricity consumers in some parts of Metro Manila, as well as neighboring provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Batangas and Cavite.

As reported, through a letter to NEA, by PENELCO General Manager Loreto A. Marcelino, the power utility learned that “in October 2012, NGCP conducted resizing to bigger wire, from 795MCM to 410mm²,” and that was supposedly “contributory to increase the sag due to heavier weight than the original size of wire.”

He stated that “as there was no record of trouble from 2012, the perception is that there was additional load on the transmission line that heated up the conductor resulting in a very low sag clearance between the distribution and transmission lines causing this outage.”

The electric cooperative indicated that its 13.2-kilovolt distribution line in Barangay Imelda, Samal, Bataan “was built in 1995 even before the construction of the NGCP’s Hermosa-BCCPP 230kV transmission line.”

Marcelino emphasized that since their line’s energization in March 1995, “there was enough clearance between PENELCO’s distribution line and NGCP’s transmission line, thereby both lines operating normally.”

And while PENELCO took the initiative to correct the clearances after Saturday’s brownouts, it noted that the preference of NGCP is for the electric cooperative “to remove the distribution line.”

PENELCO Engineer Edwin C. Zaldivar, nevertheless, qualified that the line cannot just be hastily removed because it can no longer serve its customers within the community.

A remedy seen to attain a compromise is “insulating an enough length of distribution line or having it underground n accordance with the standards to meet the safety clearance.” (MMV)