Officials of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the Department of Energy (DOE) in Northern Luzon said that all measures are in place to ensure that the May 9 national and local elections will be “black-out free.”
Director Efren Balaoing, head of DOE’s Luzon field office, said that power producers have standby generators ready for energy production in case brownouts occur.
He said that based on the power outlook summary presented by NGCP, the Luzon area has 1,822 megawatt (MW) power reserve on May 8; 2,243 MW on May 9; and 810 MW on May 10.
For Visayas areas, 221 MW on May 8, 190 MW on May 9 and 245 MW on May 10; while Mindanao area has 383 MW on May 8, 373 MW on May 9 and 254 MW on May 10.
“In case, we have a very thin power reserve in Luzon areas in that period, the big shopping malls in Metro Manila will be asked to open their uninterruptible power sources to help sustain our energy requirement,” Balaoing said.
NGCP and DOE also created a task force to ensure the sufficiency of power supply all over the country on Election Day.
Lilibeth Gaydowen, NGCP’s North Luzon communications and public affairs officer, said the national grid has started to implement its contingency plan as early as February to ensure that the country’s power transmission network is geared up for the nationwide polls.
“We are aligning our efforts with the Department of Energy and the rest of the power industry to ensure a blackout-free May elections. NGCP is closely coordinating with generators to ensure sufficient power supply and reserves,” she said.
She said NGCP has also been preparing its facilities and deploying its resources to be responsive to any incident that may affect transmission services during the election period.
Some of the contingency measures that were put in place were the suspension of line and equipment maintenance and testing activities two weeks before and one week after election day to make sure that all facilities are on-line and available from casting to counting of the votes.
“In case of power interruption, the grid operator will be ready to deploy its strategically placed aircrafts, emergency restoration structures, and spare parts for faster line inspection and restoration,” Gaydowen added.
NGCP will also activate its Over-all Command and Control Center in its headquarters, regional and district offices 24/7 a day before and after the elections. These command and control centers will also serve as the energy sector’s main monitoring and information hubs.
Meanwhile, the issue of right-of-way has been a major problem for the company in recent months.
“We are expediting our right-of-way clearing operations. We want our lines to be cleared of illegally planted trees before the elections for more reliable transmission service,” Gaydowen clarified.
She said their clearing operations are based on the Commission on Election Resolution 10067 as legal cover with assistance coming from the military, police and local government units.
NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s power grid transmitting high-voltage electricity through “power superhighways” that include the interconnected system of transmission lines, towers, substations, and related assets.