Showing posts with label NGCP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NGCP. Show all posts

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Tagbilaran hit by floods; power outage in Bohol

Thursday had two unforgettable events.

First, after two hours of rain, several areas in this city were flooded on Thursday.

The heavy rain started around 10:30 a.m., triggering knee-deep flood on H. Grupo Street.

Heavy rains also turned Lamdagan Street into a virtual river where people were forced to wade in knee-deep floodwaters.

The heavy rain also flooded some schools. In Cogon Elementary School, the school children were forced to walk in floodwater as some of them went home for lunch.

Boy Reyes, 46, carried his son, a Grade 1 pupil, on his shoulder.

Students wade through floodwaters after 
heavy rains that hit Bohol on Thursday. Leo Udtohan
The heavy rains also left office workers stranded.

Flights were also delayed and diverted due to poor visibility at the Tagbilaran Airport because of the downpour.

A source at the Tagbilaran Airport said that a Philippine Airlines flight diverted to Mactan Cebu International Airport after two attempts to land at the Tagbilaran airport around 10 a.m. on Thursday due to zero visibility.

Four hours after the heavy downpour, a sudden blackout occurred. The strong earthquake that hit Leyte province caused a power transmission system to trip off and damaged power sources.

Bohol sources its power from Leyte since the province has no power source of its own.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) had not given a statement on when power would resume although sources said the blackout could last three to four days.

“Power interruption will prolong as full assessment of transmission facilities is still to be completed,” said Betty Martinez, NGCP-Visayas spokesperson.

Around 261,000 households in the province had without electricity.

Michelle Barimbao, 28, had to buy kerosene at a gasoline station in the city since the sari-sari stores had run out of supply after the blackout gripped the province following Thursday’s earthquake.

Kerosene is commonly used for cooking and other energy needs.

However, the product has been scarce in Tagbilaran since many gas stations run out of supply since Thursday night.

Barimbao was told that Florencio Gasoline Station CPG East Avenue corner J.A. Clarin Street sold kerosene for P42.50 per liter.

Residents lined up at the gas station until midnight.

Most of the Boholanos had dinner by candlelight
 or kerosene lamp on Thursday night. Leo Udtohan
Barimbao and other residents had dinner by candlelight or kerosene lamp.

She said that after eating dinner, they just went to sleep because there was nothing much to do with no electricity.

Some business establishments with no generator sets in the capital Tagbilaran City were closed.

Barimbao said the blackout reminded her of the aftermath of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (International Name: Haiyan) on Nov. 8, 2013 that hit the province three weeks after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake shook Bohol and killed at least 200 people.

Yolanda affected the geothermal power plant in Leyte which caused the brownouts that lasted for more than a month.

Power had not resumed in Bohol as well as in Leyte, Southern Leyte and on Samar Island after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake rocked Leyte at 4:03 p.m. on Thursday.

The quake caused a power transmission system to trip off and damaged power sources.

Based on NGCP’s advisory on Friday morning, tower along the 138-kV Ormoc-Togonan Line in Ormoc City, Leyte was found leaning following aerial and ground inspections.

NGCP has also mobilized six line gangs to temporarily restore the Ormoc-Togonan 138kV Line. Another line gang was sent to Kananga Switchyard, owned by Energy Development Corporation (EDC), to assist in restoration and to assess possible ways of extending power from the Tabango Substation to Ormoc Substation, the statement said.

NGCP’s Cebu-Leyte submarine cable, and its Tabango Substation in Leyte continue to transmit power to Leyte Electric Cooperative 5 that served the towns of Tabango, San Isidro, and Villaba.

“There is a complete loss of power in Bohol and Samar islands, and Southern Leyte. Due to supply deficiency caused by the outage of power plants located in Leyte, customers in Cebu, Negros, and Panay may also suffer occasional power interruptions,” said the NGCP advisory.

Since there was no power, several residents in Bohol also complained of no water supply. Many residents stormed malls, stores and water refilling stations to buy water.

People lined up in a gasoline station in 
Tagbilaran City until midnight to buy kerosone. 
Leo Udtohan

“We don’t have power. We don’t have water. Where will we turn to,” asked Anabelle Magoncia, 45, a resident of Ubujan District.

In its advisory, the Bohol Light advised consumers to conserve batteries and water.

“Power plants & NGCP Sub-station in Leyte are shut down and still on assessment period. Power restoration for Bohol may take long. Please take precautions to prevent fire, conserve water and remove plugs from outlets,” it said.

Many residents vented their frustration on social media.

“Almost four years since the Yolanda blackouts and yet it seems that we didn't learn something from it at all,” said Daisy Jane Sajulga-Galve on Facebook. “Having our own source of electricity should have been the number 1 priority of this province.”

Beryl Elizabeth Lupot, who works with a nongovernment organization in Tagbilaran, said there was a need for Bohol to have its own power source especially with its economic boom.

“Yes of course, we really need to have our own energy source, especially now that we have a new international airport and Bohol is progressing rapidly,” said Lupot.

“Bohol has it all except its own energy source,” she added.

Another resident Keith Joseph Sepe posted on Facebook that Bohol had experienced a long Earth Day.

“Bohol needs their own Power Plant ge (should be) prioritize(d) unta na! Dili ang (not the) International airport,” Sepe said. He used the hashtags #Justsaying!! #BoholBlackout #Earthday #EarthquakeLeyte #PrayForLeyte.

Willy Ramasola also posted on Facebook that the experience should make the local and national officials realize that Bohol should not be dependent on Leyte for its power source.

“Oh well. No need to learn past lessons as long as you make sure you win elections. And the people pay the painful price. Enjoy eating melted ice creams tonight, my fellow Boholanos,” said Ramasola.

On the worst case, repair and restoration of the transmission lines may not take longer than one week.

Bohol will be bracing for more dark nights.

Note: While power supply was restored in Tagbilaran City on Friday night as part of rationing system, environmental activist Jumjum Ouano shares his thoughts on coal-powered plant:

There is plan that Government of Bohol is eyeing on investing in Coal - Powered Plant just to supply electricity in the Province, with the recent events in Leyte and that the power blackout in the Province my fear is that most Boholanos will approved of this investment plan without considering hazards it will entail to the community and general public as a whole.

To my fellow Boholanos, I know it is difficult to not have electricity as it affects our daily lives and even our supply of water. It is not easy but let us not fall into a trap of giving a thumbs up to this kind of source of power, aside from it is not sustainable, how can we claim that we are a prime ECO-cultural and heritage tourism destination?

There are other means to get our supply of electricity by not resorting in Coal-powered plant. I am speaking about this because I myself opposes to the Ludo Coal Powered plant in Cebu, and the hell would I allow the same will be built in Bohol.

I am not speaking in the comfort that I can escape the recent situation there right now because in the longer run I would still be coming home to Bohol. Again hear me out, there are more better alternatives, the Government is not limited to it. It’s just that they are not posting the issue of electricity as a priority since they could have done something about it for example, Dams.

My fellow advocates for environmental protection, let us be vigilant and let us not sold our principles for a convenient solution as of the moment. Let us all consider the longer impact. Coal is Dirty!


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Sunday, May 28, 2017

A ‘high voltage’ experience in Leyte

The last time I looked, the mountain of Leyte was showing itself in full magnificent glory, breathtakingly beautiful.

That was last January when I covered the swim of Atty. Ingemar Macarine a.ka. Pinoy Aquaman in Canigao Channel. Although, we stayed there for only thirty minutes in Barangay Guadalupe in Maasin City, the mountain of Leyte awed me.

And last week, I saw her again.  The mountain transfixed me in awe as we arrived in Leyte for a facility familiarization tour and power transmission briefing by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

Mary Hope Arcenal receives a warm hug from Mayor Richard Gomez.
  Courtesy: Ric Obedencio
Our group — Lito Responte (dyTR), Mike Ligalig (Bohol Tribune/Agence France-Presse), Angeline Valencia (Bohol Chronicle/PNA/Freeman), Ric Obedencio (Bohol News Today/Freeman), Andy Nalzaro (Bohol Balita Daily News), Fred Amora (Radyo Jagna), Frony Narisma (Bohol Tribune), Jessa Agua- Ylanan (DA 7 Bohol media liaison officer), Maryknoll Joan Porpor (Magic  92.7 FM), Ern Pahayahay (dyTR), Mary Hope “Dice” Arcenal (Bohol Light Company, Inc.), Rey Anthony Chiu (Philippine Information Agency –Bohol) and Janet Lim Villarojo (Effective Development Communication Unit)— was the latest batch to be invited by Betty Martinez, spokesperson of NGCP –Visayas who, we soon found out, was an energetic multi-tasker who could talk about power supply as fast as she could shuttle from one project/meeting to another.

We took an early trip to Cebu City. Travel time was two hours. At Cebu Pier, Maam Betty accosted us and made things easy for us to the next level of our sea travel. We took the 11 a.m. boat going to Ormoc City. The three-hour trip gave us the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of Leyte from a distance. It also gave us breathless feeling when we saw islands/islets.  

At the Ormoc City port, we were reminded that Ormoc City is part of Leyte.

Leyte is divided into two provinces: Leyte and Southern Leyte.
Asked in jest if we had time to see Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, the city’s main tourist attraction, Maam Betty (so casual and so unpretentious that’s why she’s so easy to love) said, “We will find time!”  And she did find way to arrange our courtesy call to Mayor Gomez.

From the pier, the group proceeded first to the NGCP’s Leyte Area Control Center where the group had an NGCP Power 101 briefing. 

It was an opportunity for us to know how the facilities operate and how power interruptions takes place.

We all know that the province of Bohol is fully dependent on Leyte for power. And our visit was timely after Bohol had experienced the 21-hour total power outage in December last year.

Ormoc City Mayor Richard “Goma” Gomez 
warmly welcomes the members of the Bohol media and 
NGCP personnel. Courtesy: Ric Obedencio
We learned that NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country's state-owned power grid, an interconnected system that transmits gigawatts of power at thousands of volts from where it is made to where it is needed.

Its network of interconnected transmission towers and substations serves as the highway where electricity travels from various energy sources to the smaller thoroughfares of distribution utilities and electric cooperatives until it reaches the households.

NGCP's task is to ensure that the country's transmission assets are in optimal condition to convey safe, quality, and reliable electricity. NGCP does this through regular inspection and repair of lines and substations, clearing of Right-of-Way obstructions, and timely restoration during and after natural disasters.

Reliability of power is the company's utmost priority so it closely monitors the grid and immediately responds to any system disturbance. NGCP acts as System Operator that balances the supply and demand of power to maintain the quality of electricity that flows through the grid.

Bulk of the NGCP Ormoc Substation (Visayas Operations District 1) supply is primarily from geothermal power plants plus latest sources from solar.

Bohol has a declared maximum capacity supply of 90 megawatts from Leyte to Bohol via Ormoc-Maasin-Pitogo-Ubay submarine cable.

The actual power supply to Bohol ranges from 55-56mw, while the average supply at night is at 60mw.

The personnel of the NGCP told us that Bohol’s competitive edge as an investment destination is negatively affected until Bohol can find alternative power sources.

 At 5 p.m., we hurriedly went to Ormoc City Hall. Goma is running the 110 barangays.

The people of Ormoc have seen the kind of work that Lucy and Goma have been doing. “Maayos at matino,” said a staff.

The mayor’s office staff said that Goma’s work ethic that he learned in showbiz in his work as a public servant is timeliness.

“Pag sinabing we start work at 8 o’clock, dapat before 8 o’clock ready na kami,” said another staff.

Members of the Bohol Media and personnel of the National Grid Corporation 
of the Philippines and Energy Development Corporation at Tongonan Geothermal 
Plant in Ormoc City. Courtesy: Ric Obedencio
Goma’s three priority projects are:

“No 1 is peace and order. No. 2 is tourism. No 3 is for Ormoc to be business-friendly,” said Goma.

“Ginagaya nga namin yung Bohol because you are one of the places na very successful ang tourism program ninyo,” Goma told members of the Bohol media.

He added, “Our thrust in Ormoc is to promote tourism, because we believe that ‘pag tourism, walang masyadong kalaban where you welcome people. You make them happy and at the same time, when people come sa isang lugar, you want them to spend money.”
What can tourists see in Ormoc?

“One of them is our Lake Danao, parang Taal Lake. It’s very beautiful.”

Other attractions in Ormoc City are the Lake Kasudsuran, Lake Janagdan, Punta dela Reina, Ormoc’s oldest bridge, and sugar cane and pineapple plantation.

“We are aiming Ormoc to be a tourist destination. Maybe we are not as beautiful as Bohol but we have some areas that we can be proud of like Lake Danao,” said Goma.

While Goma was talking to us, I’d noticed that the women attentively  listened to him with sparkling eyes!  Goma, afterall, is still a hunk who is making women — and other creatures besides — swoon.  

Daghan na-dalaga og balik! Ha! Ha! Ha!

We were billeted at Ormoc Villa Hotel where we had a sumptuous dinner together with Ormoc-based media — Robert Dejon (PDI/GMA News), Lalaine Marcos-Jimenia, publisher of the Eastern Visayas Mail, Elvie Roa, et al.

The following day, we attended the briefing of Energy Development Corporation (EDC) facilitated by NGCP particularly on geothermal power plant.

The EDC personnel explained that since the Philippines is found in the Pacific Ring of Fire, the common heat source is magma, which transfers the heat from the earth’s core, where temperatures reach over 5,000 C.

The presence of water must be positive in a geothermal system. The water beneath the earth turns into that all-important steam used as geothermal energy.

They said that geothermal developers must take care of the forests because without trees, water will just run off to the rivers and seas and leave geothermal reservoirs empty.

From EDC Building, we went to visit the Tongonan Geothermal Reservation.  We missed the visit to the Tongonan Hot Spring National Park. Maybe next time.  The Tongonan Hot Spring National Park has a medicinal pool, a geyser that spurts hourly, and formations exuding sulphuric vapors. We were told that wild pigs, monkeys, deers and birds are also fund in the park.

Of course, we didn’t leave Ormoc City without buying pineapples and moron, and visiting the Saints Paul and Peter Parish Church where Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres and Mayor Goma tied the knot in 1998.

At past 1 p.m., we left Ormoc for Maasin City. We dropped by at the Albuera Town Hall and had photo ops with Mayor Rosa Meneses.  The town rings a bell? We had a stop-over in BayBay City to see the Visayas State University (formerly Visayas State College of Agriculture). It has a total land area of 1, 479 hectares that extends from the shores of Camotes Sea to the top of Mt. Pangasugan.

The group arrived in Maasin City at around 5 p.m., and proceeded to the NGCP-Maasin Substation, where Bohol province gets its power supply via Pitogo island-Ubay.

The NGCP has upgraded the second line, or Line 2 to the Leyte-Bohol grid that supplies electricity to Bohol through submarine cables.

“Line 2 has been in place to ensure continuous power supply in the future,” said Engr. Giovanni Torralba.

Hitches in Leyte grid clutched the whole Bohol to another total power outage on Dec. 4, 2016 which lasted for 20 hours. And we got irked for that.

We stayed at Villa Romana Hotel. We capped the night with a sumptuous dinner together with Ormoc-based journalists- Jani Arnaiz (Inquirer), Monching Buyser and Frank Bandibas of dyDM-AM Maasin.  Others went to the city to buy slippers, while others had a video-k session.

Unfortunately, we spent barely 24 hours in Maasin City and proceeded to Bato, Leyte for our trip back to Bohol.

So much to see, so little time!

From the boat going to Ubay, I took a fleeting glimpse of the mountain of Leyte glittering in the summer sun. It seemed to bid us goodbye, inviting us to visit again. Paging Maam Betty! Ha! Ha! Ha!

 Thank you NGCP for the great experience. Thank you Maam Betty! Thank you Ms Michelle Visera! Thank you Ms  Ma. Edna Legaspina!


Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.