Mindanao in the dark eve of elections

“The system experienced major system trouble at 1:04 p.m. today,” Earl Ferrer, chief of the National Transmission Corporation’s (TransCo) Southeastern Mindanao Support Services Division, told MindaNews.

Ferrer listed nine 138 KV lines which tripped,  “affecting 90% of the Mindanao Grid”

Initial findings, he said, showed that “the Abaga-Agus 6 Line 1 conductor flashover melted at Agus 6 switchyard.”

"It was a  problem with the power generation side, not with the transmission this time," Milfrance Capulong, Transco Southeastern Mindanao district information officer told MindaNews in a telephone interview.

The last time  Mindanao suffered a power outage was on September 17. At least a third of Mindanao suffered intermittent power outages from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. due to “technical problems” in the 138-KV Kibawe sub-station in Bukidnon.

Power was restored in Davao City around 6:40 p.m., almost six hours after the power went off on Sunday.

In South Cotabato, power was restored at around 6 p.m. but went off again 12 minutes later and was finally restored at 6:30 p.m.

According to Ferrer, the following 138 KV lines tripped affecting 90% of the Mindanao grid: Agus 2-Kibawe lines 1 and 2; Abaga-Agus 2 lines 1 and 2; Abaga-Agus 6 lines 1 and 2; Abaga-Tagoloan; Abaga-Aurora; Abaga-Lugait-Tagoloan. 

Caspulong said the “flashover”  or “an undesired electrical discharge across an insulator, between a high potential and the ground,” according to yourdictionary.com,  could have been prevented by maintenance. But the spokesperson said power loading in the line is usually heavy on weekends. 

She said the problem has been attended to and power had been restored around Mindanao starting 3 p.m. and at around 7p.m. at the latest.

Residents of Davao's Matina GSIS Heights told this reporter they thought it was just a local “brownout.”

"But if this is a Mindanao-wide situation, I think this will cause uneasiness as we go to vote tomorrow," Manang Rosa, nail care attendant, said.

Toto Lagamon, from Mangagoy, Surigao del Sur reported via text message that power had not been restored as of 6:30 pm.  (Walter I. Balane/Mindanews with a eport from Carolyn O. Argullas/)