Agus 1 and 2 reconnected to Mindanao power grid

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 March) — Agus 1 and 2 of the Agus hydropower complex have been reconnected to the Mindanao grid after the Interagency Task Force on Securing Energy Facilities restored Monday transmission tower 25, which was toppled on December 24, 2015.

In a press statement released on Monday, the Department of Energy (DOE) said restoration works on tower 25 located in Ramain, Lanao del Sur started last March 5 after the Regional Trial Court in Marawi City issued a court ruling directing lot owners “to allow access in their claimed property for the rehabilitation to proceed smoothly.”

The order was directed to lot owners Johny, Intan and Naguib Sambitori.

Restoration works on tower 25 had been stalled since December when the Sambitori family demanded that government pay P40 million in unsettled claims for the portion of the lot where the structure stood.

“With the cooperation from all stakeholders to restore Tower No. 25, Mindanaoans have again enjoyed about 80 megawatts of cheaper and cleaner power supply from the Agus plants. This will substantially result in reduction of rotating brownouts in the affected areas,” Energy Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada said.

Agus 1 and Agus 2’s combined capacity is 260 megawatts but due to low water levels in Lake Lanao it could only supply 80 MW.

Mindanao’s major sources of power are the Agus and Pulangi hydropower complexes. Agus has seven plants and Pulangi has four others for a combined installed capacity of 982 MW.

Monsada, who chairs the task force, called for the support of all stakeholders in ensuring the maintenance of integrity and reliability of all energy assets that are “vital public assets.”

The task force, comprised of DOE as head, National Transmission Corp., NGCP, Mindanao Development Authority, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Department of Interior and Local Government, National Power Corporation, Department of Justice, and Land Registration Authority, was formed last Feb. 4.

Its task is to address the series of attacks on transmission towers of the NGCP and right-of-way claims in areas where power facilities stand.

“The IATFSEF remains keen in upholding public interest as priority in all of its action plans, especially to prevent untoward incidents from happening again that may compromise not just the energy facilities, but the lives and welfare of the people,” the statement read.

The task force will also clear the trees, infrastructures, and any obstructions under the transmission facilities, following the issuance of Resolution No. 10067 of Commission on Elections to avoid ROW issues from happening again that might cause power problems on May 9, election day.

In a separate statement, the NGCP said: “We are very pleased with this development. We have been poised and ready to restore the facility as soon as it was toppled. All we needed was access to the property. With the court issued injunction, we were given legal cover to access the transmission facilities and begin restoration.”

Nineteen transmission towers were attacked in 2015, of which 16 were toppled, according to NGCP. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)