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NGCP explains power interruptions in ZamPen

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Toppled trees caused the series of blackouts which hit the entire Zamboanga Peninsula this month, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said.

NGCP Aurora substation chief Daniel Ilagan explained that the blackout incidents on May 4 and 14 were caused by trees touching and falling against the NGCP’s power lines, thereby cutting off the line which carries the entire power load of the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Ilagan said the first incident was caused by an encroaching tree underneath one of NGCP’s transmission lines, while the second incident was a result of a tree falling towards a power line due to a flash flood in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte.

Photo from NGCP website

During these conditions, Zamboanga City is set to operate on island-mode basis, wherein power will be supplied by the Western Mindanao Power Corporation (WMPC) in Sangali.

“It is our procedure that we will declare a total blackout, and Zamboanga City will operate on an island-mode basis,” he said during the press conference at City Hall on Monday, May 22.

For its part, the NGCP has conducted operations to clear trees and other vegetation growth encroaching on transmission and power lines.

“We would like to assure the public the NGCP is committed to give you reliable and uninterruptible power supply,” Ilagan said.

It recently shut down its grid operator's Agus 5-Aurora 138-kilovolt line for clearing operations.

Another clearing operation is scheduled on May 28, and Ilagan said that power in the City may be interrupted and temporarily cut off to facilitate the operation.

Meanwhile, the NGCP is also soliciting the assistance of provincial and local governments to pass an ordinance preventing the planting of trees and other vegetation as well as houses and other structures underneath power lines.

The City, along with the entire Zamboanga Peninsula, experienced area-wide blackout on May 4 and 14, and incidents of voltage fluctuations on May 18. (Jasmine Mohammadsali)