Attacks on transmission towers endanger power supply in NorMin

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 January) — Northern Mindanao would be most affected if the Mindanao grid collapses due to the bombings of power transmission towers, the Department of Energy said Friday.

Energy Secretary Zanaida Monsada said Northern Mindanao would be cut off from its energy supply from the Agus hydro plants but Southern Mindanao would be unaffected as the 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant of Therma Marine South has been commissioned.

“This will be the scenario we will be facing if the bombing of transmission towers will continue unabated,” Monsada told reporters during the inauguration of the coal plant today.

She said the government recognized the gravity of the situation and has created a task force composed of units from the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police to deal with recalcitrant landowners.

Reports said the suspects in the bombings are owners of lands where the transmission towers pass through, and who are demanding payments from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

President Benigno Aquino III inaugurated the coal plant  in Barangay Binugao, Toril District, Davao City, which is expected to boost the power supply in southern Mindanao and if distribution is not affected, throughout the island.

“This plant’s dependable capacity is roughly equivalent to one-fifth of the Mindanao grid’s highest peak demand in 2015—and it is already delivering power to areas at the end of the grid, such as Sarangani, General Santos, and the Zamboanga peninsula,” Aquino said.

He said his government is studying how to meet the demands of the landowners.

The NGCP placed the entire Mindanao grid on yellow alert again the other day after bombing attacks against its towers in Lanao del Sur continued.

“ROW (right of way) violations, along with bombing attacks, have become the significant problems for NGCP in Mindanao. It will be very difficult for us to deliver the available power supply to distribution utilities if we continue to encounter these problems,” the NGCP said in a statement.

Monsada said President Aquino has directed agencies how to respond to the demands of the landowners. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)