Blackout’s cause still unclear after 24 hours – NGCP spox

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

More than 24 hours after the disruption of power supply in Panay and Guimaras Islands, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said Tuesday that the incident is still under investigation.

NGCP spokesperson Reaghan Alcantara told Daily Guardian in a phone interview on Tuesday morning that they still could not trace the reason for the blackout, which caused massive interruptions to the islands’ power supply.

Alcantara added that while they have initial information, they would rather wait for the final results of the investigation before they could publicize their official statements on the matter.

“We’re looking at everything very well because there are still lots of things that we need to check as to why and how it happened in the first place. There are lots to look at, including relays, etc., all this technical information coming out of our system to make sure that we can pinpoint the cause of the power interruption [on Monday],” he said.

“We have had initial information as early as [Monday], but then again, it’s all part of the investigation, because we need to compare it with other details across Panay [Island] and within the NGCP,” he added.

As to the long delays between the time of full restoration (2:24 p.m. on Monday) and actual restoration in the consumer areas, with some as late as 10:30 p.m., Alcantara explained that they could only provide limited supply to distribution utilities (DUs) and electric cooperatives (ECs).

“The reason why it took long, like in Iloilo City, was because there was only limited supply. That’s why even when the lines were already restored, but the load that we can throw to the lines was limited, we can only provide limited load,” Alcantara explained.

“For example, in one area, they may require around 30 megawatts, but the load we could only provide was 5 to 10 megawatts, there would still be balance left, and we would still need to provide to other customer areas around Panay [Island] to balance the load,” he added.

The power interruption, which began around 11:24 a.m. on Monday, was caused by a disturbance in the Panay sub-grid.

The limited load that the NGCP had upon power restoration caused delayed supply restoration.

MORE Power, Iloilo City’s DU, was only able to restore power to the entire city at 9:26 p.m., while Iloilo Electric Cooperatives (ILECO) I and II in Iloilo province were able to re-energize their entire coverage areas at 10:18 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., respectively.

ILECO III, while having been able to re-energize all its substations Monday afternoon, still suffered some unscheduled interruptions until the early evening.

As for the rest of Panay Island, Aklan Electric Cooperative (AKELCO) was able to restore power to its full coverage area at 10:31 p.m., while Antique Electric Cooperative (ANTECO) was at 10:00 p.m., and Capiz Electric Cooperative (CAPELCO) at 10:32 p.m.

The Guimaras Electric Cooperative (GUIMELCO) has not indicated on its social media handles the time when it had fully restored its power as of this writing.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas on Tuesday wrote to NGCP board chairperson Robert Coiyuto Jr. to seek an explanation as to the reason and manner of the massive power interruptions.

“Said power interruption, absence any advisory, brought inconvenience not only to the llonggos in and outside their homes but also affected the transactions in both public and private offices and businesses causing backlogs and missing deadlines on that day,” the mayor said in his letter.

Treñas likewise urged the Iloilo City Council in an indorsement to its presiding officer, Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon, to pass a resolution urging the NGCP to immediately provide an explanation on the situation.