• NGCP to replace 1,300 old wood poles

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    The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is replacing around 1,300 old transmission poles in the Visayas area this year in its bid to stabilize the power grid in the region.

    In a statement, the Henry Sy-led grid operator reported that it is planning to replace its old wood poles with the more durable and sturdy steel poles.

    “For 2013, NGCP targets to complete the replacement of more than 1,300 poles also in the given areas [Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Bohol, Negros and Panay]. Wood poles are used to transmit electricity with a maximum voltage of 69 kilovolts [kV],” the company said.

    In 2012, NGCP finished the replacement of 1,104 wood poles in the aforementioned provinces.

    According to NGCP, the original construction of the wood poles can be dated back when the National Power Corp. was still managing the transmission business in the country.

    Cynthia Alabanza, NGCP spokesperson, said that one of the major challenges NGCP faces is the upgrade of its system.

    “Some of the poles we inherited are more than 20 years old and are already prone to corrosion and decay, which underscores the necessity to replace them with better materials,” Alabanza explained.

    “The replacement and rehabilitation of our 69-kV facilities is an ongoing project of NGCP in the Visayas until 2015,” she added.

    The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)-approved budget for the wood pole replacement for 2013 is P196.7 million.

    The project is part of the operator’s long-term plan to develop the Visayas grid. The long-term plan for the region includes interconnecting the major islands in the area, reinforcing existing transmission lines and substations, and replacing wood poles.

    “NGCP is working on these developments in anticipation of future load growth in the Visayas. Since Visayas is prone to typhoons and earthquakes, we are priori­tizing the construction of steel poles which can better withstand these disasters,” Alabanza said.

    Madelaine B. Miraflor

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