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2 power plants still off Mindanao grid

Economic News • 20:47 PM Wed Nov 11, 2015
Malu C. Manar

KIDAPAWAN CITY --Two state-owned power plants stationed in a remote town in Lanao del Sur are still isolated from the Mindanao grid of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), weeks after a transmission tower was toppled down in Marawi City, the NGCP communications office in South-West Mindanao said. Milfrance Capulong, communications officer of NGCP-Southwest Mindanao, said transmission lines connected to Agus-1 and Agus-2 hydro-electric power plants run by the National Power Corporation (Napocor) are not yet operational as of this writing. The plants have a total capacity of 200MW. Capulong said that right after lines were cut because of the bombing, they immediately implement so-called emergency measures and start utilizing alternate routes so to minimize the impact. This is economic sabotage. This does not only affect our company but all the power consumers in Mindanao,” she stressed. The restoration of power in Lanao del Sur, according to Capulong, will take time and need millions of pesos. Whatever the costs that would be incurred in the restoration will be passed on to power consumers through the distribution utilities. This is part of the system loss so that every time a tower is being toppled down, the consumers are always at a losing end,” she explained. The NGCP, as an operator of the grid, will have to undergo the repairs and rehabilitation of the lines and powers that were damaged. Later on, however, the company would have to apply to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for the cost of recovery by passing on power consumers. No known motive yet Meantime, the NGCP has yet to receive results of the police investigation as to the motive behind the bombing. Although this is a very sensitive issue, the motive, however, is not yet established. True, there are security concerns in North Cotabato and Lanao del Sur but we have support from the police and military to ensure safety of our facilities,” she said. There are areas, however, that before the NGCP crew could penetrate or investigate will have to be secured first by military and police personnel so as not to endanger their lives. Before the bombing in Marawi City, one of the NGCP towers located in Pikit, North Cotabato was toppled down by still unidentified armed group. Also, authorities in Carmen, North Cotabato averted an attempt by an armed group to destroy another NGCP tower. Police said that village officials in Carmen reported the presence of armed men in the area, near the NGCP tower, and sought their help. When Carmen PNP, including personnel from the Explosives and Ordnance Disposal Team, went to the area, they have recovered four improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted in each leg of the tower in the area.

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