Visayas grid resumes importing power from Luzon

Erwin P. Nicavera

THE National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said the Visayas grid has resumed importing power from Luzon to augment its power supply requirement, which was previously insufficient, causing rotational brownouts across the region, including Negros Occidental.

The transmission utility, in a statement said, said it has already energized its Ormoc High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Converter Station and is now fully engaged to allow power sharing between the Luzon and Visayas grids.

The facility, which controls connection from Luzon to Visayas, was severely damaged by the magnitude 6.3 earthquake in July.

Maintenance teams completed the restoration on September 7. Works included moving several heavy equipment from different NGCP facilities in the country to replace damaged parts such as converter transformers and breakers, among others, the transmission firm said.

“The Visayas grid can now be relieved from the generation deficiency resulting from the unavailability of earthquake-affected Leyte geothermal plants,” it added.

Earlier, the Department of Energy (DOE) said that only until the damaged HVDC facility is addressed that the power supply in the Visayas will normalize.

For several weeks, the Visayas power grid was put on “yellow alert,” a situation where there is less power reserve than the requirement due to generation deficiency.

Antonio Labios, director of DOE Visayas Field Office, told SunStar Bacolod that about 400 megawatts (MW) coming from Luzon was previously cut off.

To allay possible adverse effects of the “thin” power supply, he said manual load dropping causing rotational brownouts has been implemented throughout the Visayas.

“Power interruptions should be distributed throughout the Visayas so that it won’t last long in every area,” Labios said, adding that there is a need to normalize power supply as soon as possible especially with the approaching holiday season when electricity demand surges.

NGCP, for its part, said: “We assure the public that it is ready to conduct similar expedited restoration activities to ensure reliable power transmission services.”