Bohol again plunged into darkness shortly before Saturday midnight, September 9, sparking people’s worries that the latest unscheduled outage might last longer than expected.
As the blackout interrupted nighttime activities, Boholanos unleashed their anxieties online, posting questions when the power would be restored.
At 11:54 p.m. Friday, September 8, power went out on all of Bohol’s 47 towns including the capital city of Tagbilaran, according to an advisory by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) sent to media through its regional communications officer, Betty Martinez.
This came a day after NGCP announced that it had completely repaired its Ormoc High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Converter Station, which was damaged by an earthquake in July this year.
Initially, the cause of the outage was not indicated in NGCP’s advisory, which was also sent to the three power distributors of Bohol: Bohol Electric Cooperatives 1 and 2, and Bohol Light Company, Inc.
Two hours later, NGCP said on its Facebook page that the power interruption was due to the tripping of the Cebu-Compostela 138kV Lines 1 and 2.
Power returned around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, but it went out again until two hours later.
NGCP said the unscheduled power interruption affected parts of Cebu, Leyte-Samar and Bohol.
“Initial information shows that lightning strikes may be involved,” NGCP said. “Restoration process is ongoing to reconnect Leyte to Cebu.”
The bulk of power needed for Bohol comes from Leyte supplied through an underwater cable.
Bohol had experienced weeks of total blackout when supertyphoon Yolanda hit Tacloban and Samar in 2013 and when a powerful quake struck Leyte on July 6, 2017.
Bohol Governor Edgar M. Chatto said Friday a privately-owned power barge now docking at a port in Ubay town, northeast of Bohol, is expected to be operational within this month, adding the diesel-fed barge can provide power to at least a third of Bohol’s 1.3 million people.
Meanwhile, at 10:32 pm yesterday, NGCP disclosed that its Operations and Maintenance department has confirmed that lightning strike had caused the tripping of the Cebu-Compostela 138kV Lines 1 and 2 that affected Leyte-Samar sub-grid.
In another development, as of 9:38 PM on September 7, 2017, NGCP had energized its Ormoc High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Converter Station, and is now fully engaged to allow power sharing between the Luzon and Visayas grids.
NGCP maintenance teams completed the restoration of the Ormoc HVDC Converter Station, which had been severely damaged by the magnitude 6.3 earthquake last July 6. Testing and commissioning of the restored facility was completed on 07 September 2017.
Restoration work involved moving several heavy equipment from different NGCP facilities in the country to replace damaged parts such as converter transformers and breakers, among others, according to the company.
“NGCP is pleased to report that with this energization, the Visayas grid can now import power from Luzon to augment the grid’s power supply requirements and relieve generation deficiency resulting from the unavailability of earthquake-affected Leyte geothermal plants. NGCP assures the public that it is ready to conduct similar expedited restoration activities to ensure reliable power transmission services,” stated the company.
After the July 6 earthquake, NGCP employed a parallel, simultaneous 24/7 restoration strategy of REPAIR, REPLACE, and RECONFIGURE. The corporation is also continuously taking necessary preparations to minimize the impact of succeeding natural disasters on NGCP operations and facilities. (with a press release from NGCP)