Snake plunges Panay, Guimaras in darkness

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo and Jennifer P. Rendon

BLAME it on the snake.

A restive reptile caused the 8-hour blackout in the islands of Panay and Guimaras, according to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

Michelle Visera, NGCP-6 corporate communications and public affairs officer, confirmed that the root cause of the outage was snake intrusion at NGCP’s Dingle substation which affected the Dingle-Barotac Viejo 138 kilovolt (kV) Lines 1 and 2.

NGCP manages the lines that transmit electricity from power plants to electric cooperatives and distribution utilities.

“Upon inspection of NGCP linemen, we discovered na may nakasulod nga man-og sa enclosed area sa sulod sang Dingle substation,” Visera said.

The snake intrusion led to the emergency shutdown of the Dingle-Barotac Viejo transmission lines 1 and 2 and eventually cascaded to the electrical suppliers in Western Visayas

According to Visera, the power interruption affected the franchise areas of Panay Electric Company (PECO), Iloilo Electric Cooperatives (ILECO) I and II, Guimaras Electric Cooperative (GUIMELCO), Capiz Electric Cooperative (CAPELCO), Aklan Electric Cooperative (AKELCO), and portions of ILECO III at around 12:09 a.m. on Jan 4, 2019.

In a statement, PECO said its supplier, Panay Energy Development Corp (PEDC), a subsidiary of Global Business Power (GBP), shut down two of its coal plants after detecting a technical glitch from the Dingle transmission lines connected thru the NGCP.

“Nagpagwa na report ang PEDC na may problema ang 138 kV nga linya sang NGCP sa Dingle. Tungod sini nag-shutdown ang mga coal plants sang PEDC nga ga-supply sa siyudad sang Iloilo kag iban na mga lugar sang Panay Island,” Peco said.

Power was restored in some parts of Iloilo City after more than three hours only to be cut off a few minutes later.

At around 4 a.m. Friday, PECO restored power supply to some of its substation and feeders after drawing electricity from Panay Power Corp’s (PPC) diesel power plants.

PPC is also a subsidiary of Global Business Power.

After more than seven hours, power transmission services in the areas of Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, and Guimaras were restored at around 8:07 a.m., according to NGCP.

To recall, a power interruption also occurred in Iloilo and its neighboring provinces Aklan, Antique and Capiz on December 23, 2018.

According to NGCP, the power interruption was caused by another technical glitch that resulted to the the shutting down of the three power plants of PEDC.

Visera said investigations are still on-going on the two recent power interruptions including the assessment of the extent of damage.

“As of now indi pa ko kahambal kay under assessment pa ang tanan kung ano bala ang extent of damage and ang tong natabo last Dec 23. Ginaimbestigahan pa to asta subong,” Visera said.