AN inter-agency energy task force reconvened yesterday and immediately moved to secure the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Lasureco) compound after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Mindanao placed under Martial Law late Tuesday night.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on Securing Energy Facilities (IATFSEF) is composed of the Department of Energy (DoE), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and other industry players.
Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao following fierce clashes between government troops and the terrorist Maute Group, which had earlier pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi earlier ordered the IATFSEF to “secure every energy facility in Mindanao.”
Through the IATFSEF, the system operator–National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP)–reported that the Mindanao Grid is now under normal operation.
NGCP initially reported a lower electricity demand in Lanao del Sur, reaching only 5 megawatts (MW) on Wednesday (24 May) which increased to 11 MW yesterday, lower than the usual demand of 17 MW.
In the IATFSEF meeting, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and Lasureco reported that 95 percent of electricity services in Marawi City has been restored.
“We are pooling our resources and seeking assistance from the AFP and the PNP to normalize the security situation, protect our people and secure energy facilities affected by the fighting,” Cusi said on Thursday
“We must prioritize the safety of our people, especially those personnel on duty in the energy facilities, and at the same time protect our energy assets,” Cusi emphasized.
Cusi said the task force was organized to prevent terrorists from targeting energy facilities and to help restore normalcy in the province as soon as possible.
In a related development, Palawan Lomondaya, National Power Corp. (NPC) plant manager of Agus 1&2 Hydroelectric Plant (HEP) Complex, said that he was planning to shut down one unit only to preserve station service for Agus 1 HEP due to an M-79 grenade landing in the plant’s vicinity, apparently fired by the Maute Group, which is now the target of intensive search-and-destroy operations by the military.
Nevertheless, the NPC is continuously mobilizing their technical personnel to ensure the delivery of sufficient supply and to meet the demand of their consumers.
“I commend the energy personnel on the ground who have been ensuring the delivery of basic energy services to our people, especially in Marawi City,” Cusi added.