Prolonged blackout to hit power utilities in Surigao

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 Feb) – Residents in Surigao del Norte and parts of Surigao del Sur are bracing for a 12-hour power outage on Saturday (Feb 11) due to maintenance work.

This has been a monthly predicament for power consumers in the area.

There was an 11-hour blackout Nov. 20 last year also due to maintenance work, a nine-hour blackout in December and a three-day power outage in January when a transmission tower collapsed as typhoon Auring made landfall in Surigao del Norte.

In an advisory, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said the two local power distributors in Surigao del Norte and one in Surigao del Sur will have no power supply due to maintenance work on the transmission firm’s equipment.

“We are facilitating maintenance work at the Placer-Madrid 69kv line,” the NGCP advisory said.

Engr. Sergio Dagooc, general manager of Siargao Island Electric Cooperative (Siarelco), said the outage will affect the island as they are using the same transmission lines as the rest of Surigao del Norte in the mainland.

Siarelco is servicing nine towns in the island with a power demand of 3 megawatts.

Engr. Narcisco Caliao Jr., general manager of Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Surneco), said the outage will affect their entire franchise area covering Surigao City and 11 towns of Surigao del Norte.

The power utility firm had acquired a 10-megawatt modular power generating set two years ago but it cannot be utilized for commercial use yet pending permits from government agencies.

Caliao said they actually used the genset in previous blackouts but could not pass on the expense to consumers because of the lack of permits. But they just cannot use it this time because the cooperative will have maintenance work of its own, its linemen fixing poles and defective lines.

Aside from the modular power generating sets, the Nickel Asia Corporation also built a billion-peso land-based generator in Surigao City, but could not yet use it for commercial operation pending approval of permits.

Glorie Rebleza, spokesperson of NGCP in the Caraga Region, said Surigao del Sur Electric Cooperative II, which is servicing the municipalities of Carrascal, Cantilan, Madrid, Carmen and Lanuza, will also experience the blackout.

“NGCP will exert all efforts to restore the line earlier or as scheduled,” she added.

Since last year, residents have been experiencing long power outages almost every month due to maintenance work.

Consumers of Dinagat Island Electric Cooperative will be spared from the blackout since it belongs to a small power utility group and is not connected to the main grid of the NGCP. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)