ERC says attempt to link Mindanao and Visayas power grids failed

PASIG CITY (MindaNews/17 January) — The attempt to connect Mindanao and Visayas power grids by submarine cable between Leyte and Surigao del Norte provinces failed due to “major obstacles” along its path, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) told journalists during a forum here Friday.

Rexie Digal, Director of the ERC Regulatory Operations Service said the attempt to lay 23 kilometers of underwater cables between Leyte in the Visayas and Surigao del Norte in Mindanao failed when the technical team from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) ran into “major obstacles” along its path.

Digal said the team reported that the path of the underwater cable experienced an increase seismic activity that could break the submarine cables.

He said the team also encountered numerous sunken ships along the path between the NGCP substations in Leyte and Surigao del Norte.

“There are even unexploded bombs and other ordnance left from World War 2,” Dingal said.

He said the NGCP will try another route to link Mindanao and Visayas between Negros Island and Dipolog City. The cost is estimated at P24 billion, inclusive of the feasibility study.

The interconnection is part of Mindanao Energy Plan 2012-2030 to provide standby power to Mindanao from Visayas which has an excess power supply.

As of  Jan. 12, 2016, the NGCP reported Mindanao has only a thin power reserves of 70 megawatts compared to Visayas which had 296 megawatts of reserve electricity. (Froilan Gallardo / Mindanews)