5M customers suffer blackout
ABOUT 90 percent of Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) franchise areas were left without electricity after Typhoon Glenda lashed Luzon early Wednesday, forcing financial institutions to suspend operations.
Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said the power outage was triggered by the typhoon when it toppled electric poles carrying transmission lines of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in several areas of Luzon.|
Zaldarriaga explained that Meralco automatically shut off power supply during the storm as a safety measure, a step the electric distributor commonly takes during major calamities. “We de-energized it for a while for safety reasons. We are seeking for the public’s understanding,” he said.
The franchise area of Meralco covers 5.189 million customers in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, and Rizal provinces, and parts of Batangas, Laguna, and Quezon provinces.
Zaldarriaga said that as of Wednesday morning, almost 100 percent of power supply was out in Meralco’s Southern franchise area. All of Batangas was without power, and the outage also affected nearly 100 percent of Laguna and Quezon, with about 94 percent of Cavite being reported without power. In other areas, 85 percent of both Metro Manila and Rizal were in the dark, followed by Pampanga (71 percent) and Bulacan (69 percent).
“As far as from Tayabas in Quezon, to all the way here in Alabang, Las Piñas, Parañaque, as well as the entire portions of Makati, Laguna, Cavite and Batangas are without power,” he said during a press briefing.
Power restoration may be delayed
Although Typhoon Glenda already left Metro Manila by mid-morning on Wednesday, Meralco warned power supply was unlikely to be restored immediately in the metropolis.
“It may take some time to restore power supply,” Zaldarriaga said.
Zaldarriaga explained that full restoration would depend on the extent of the damage caused to Meralco facilities by the typhoon, and the availability of power generation sets that could be used to bring back electricity.
“We are still looking at our facilities that were destroyed by the typhoon. In Alabang alone I saw a lot of our posts that were down,” he added.
Zaldarriaga said much of Meralco’s power supply comes from the South, particularly from the Pagbilao and Ilijan power plants that were “isolated at the moment.”
“Our power supply now is coming from the North, particularly through the Balintawak line, which cannot satisfy or meet the requirements of Meralco,” he said.
The company, Zaldarriaga added, has already deployed personnel to assess the damage caused by the typhoon on their facilities.
“Meralco crews are working round the clock to conduct damage assessment and clearing operations to ensure safety during actual restoration,” he said.
Larry Fernandez, head of Meralco utility economics, further explained that power cannot be restored immediately as they have to first check the condition of main transmission lines.
“It depends on the condition of the lines. Major lines will be inspected before moving on to small lines going to houses,” Fernandez said.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said it continues to monitor and inspect transmission lines and other facilities affected by ‘Glenda.’
“Please note that loss of power may be caused by affected transmission facilities of NGCP, or by distribution facilities of local distribution utilities or electric cooperatives,” NGCP said in the statement.
The NGCP explained that power interruptions in specific cities and municipalities are determined by concerned distribution utilities.
Affected transmission lines identified by NGCP include those serving parts of Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon; the Daraga-Sorsogon 69-kV line, affecting all of Sorsogon province; several lines serving parts of Camarines Sur; the main line serving the whole of Eastern Samar; and three lines serving parts of Northern Samar.
The NGCP also said there is no flow of power from the Luzon to Visayas grid as the Leyte-Luzon 350-kV High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) line is out due to the storm.
It also added that the Tayabas-Naga 230-kV line and Gumaca-Labo 230-kV line are out, isolating the Bicol region.
NGCP said it has mobilized its line crews and is currently conducting ground patrols to inspect and assess the impact of the tropical storm to its operations and facilities, particularly in Samar and Albay.