DOE: “Inadequacies” in transmission lines caused red, yellow alerts

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The Department of Energy (DOE) said that the red and yellow alerts implemented on Monday that led to power interruptions in Luzon were caused by “inadequacies” in the transmission system. 

“The recent prolonged power outages in Panay and Negros, and the power interruption experienced yesterday have been traced principally to inadequacies in the transmission system,” Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla in a media briefing. 

On Monday (May 8), the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) implemented yellow and red alerts on the Luzon Grid after 1,354 megawatts became unavailable. 

DOE said that NGCP’s Masinloc-Bolo 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line tripped at 1 PM yesterday. 

“This was the main cause why the 2 units of Masinloc Power plant bogged down shaving 680MW from the Luzon grid, triggering a yellow and red alert until mid-afternoon,” DOE Undersecretary Rowena said.

The DOE has ordered the NGCP to explain the cause of the outages. “But the initial explanation they had was there were heavy rains and lightning in that area, tinamaan yung transmission lines nila,” Guevarra said. 

In a separate statement, NGCP said that the Bolo-Masinloc Line 2 tripped but is operating with a redundancy. 

“The load carried by Line 2 was automatically transferred to Line 1 when the former tripped. Each of Lines 1 or 2 is more than capable of singularly carry the entire loading of the Bolo-Masinloc 230 kv facility at any time,” NGCP said. 

NGCP added that with the redundancy, and automatic transfer of loads from line 2 to line 1, “the tripping of the 2 Masinloc units was both unexpected and undesirable.”

“It is not a case of blame throwing, what we want to do is to establish in an objective manner what are the weak links, what are the problems in the transmission system and what can we do in order to address these problems,” Lotilla said.