Central Bukidnon suffers 12-hour brownout

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/04 September) – A power interruption that lasted from 8:30am to 8:30pm on Saturday, due mainly to maintenance work carried out by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), affected Bukidnon’s two cities, Malaybalay and Valencia, as well as the towns of Cabanglasan, Lantapan, and San Fernando.

The interruption affected areas serviced by the two power distribution firms in Bukidnon, the First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative (Fibeco) and the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (Buseco).

According to an NGCP advisory quoted by Buseco public relations officer Leonard Leyros, on Sept.1, the power interruption was scheduled to “effect transmission line work to replace steel poles” along the Maramag to Aglayan (Malaybalay) 69kv line.

In a text message sent Saturday evening, Elizabeth Ladaga, NGCP corporate communications officer said it was scheduled to facilitate replacement of light weight towers with steel poles.

“This was undertaken by NGCP to enhance reliability of its power transmission lines, thereby improving our service,” she added in the text advisory, which she said was relayed earlier to the media and local government officials.

As per the NGCP advisory, power was supposed to be back by 6pm at the latest, but it was only restored past 8:30pm.

In Malaybalay City, power first went on at 7:04pm but tripped off shortly after. It came back at 7:16pm only to be out again after a few minutes.

Ladaga, in a text message sent at 8:23pm, clarified that they restored power at 4:42pm.

Buseco admitted they were the cause of the delay and asked for “patience and understanding.”

“We have to extend the restoration of power in Aglayan sub-station due to wiring and installation of our SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition). Estimated restoration of power would be 7p.m. maximum,” said Florgene Sumintan of Buseco’s main office in Manolo Fortich town.

Sumintan said Buseco’s technical services department used the NGCP scheduled brownout and did not send a public advisory anymore on the extension of the power interruption.

Leyros said that when Buseco restored power by 7pm, a portion of the primary line got short-circuited when it touched a portion of the neural line along Magsaysay Street in Malaybalay.

A series of power interruptions had plagued Bukidnon since Thursday, when at 5 to 9pm most of the province was plunged in darkness. NGCP owned up to the incident saying linemen found a “toppled gmelina tree between structures 158 and 159 somewhere along Maramag-Busco section”.

The Maramag-Aglayan substation tripped off, they added, causing a power interruption that affected most of Fibeco’s and Buseco’s service areas.

The following day, Sept. 2, Malaybalay and Valencia also suffered close to four hours of power interruption, from 9am to 1pm.

A damaged cross arm was reported to have caused fire on a wooden pole at the back of Valencia Rubbertex factory in Km. 4, Malaybalay.

Buseco officials said they replaced the wooden pole with steel.

Rene Cortizano, Fibeco general manager, noted that the NGCP needs to do preventive maintenance operations “that maybe scheduled from time to time.”

But board member Roland Deticio said the electric firms should at least exercise full disclosure about the power interruptions. He said if they are also doing their own installations, then they must say so and not only point to the NGCP. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)