NGCP looks to strengthen facilities in the wake of storms

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The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is aiming to strengthen its transmission facilities in the wake of the series of storms that hit the country in recent months.

NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza said this entails the upgrading of its facilities’ wind ratings, so they could withstand stronger typhoons in the future and ensure the grids’ resiliency. The upgrading has been an ongoing program since Super Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the country in 2013.

In the case of transmission lines downed by Super Typhoon Rolly, Alabanza said the NGCP is looking to increase their threshold to 315 kilometers per hour (kph). Rolly battered the Bicol and CALABARZON regions in late October and early November with winds of up to 315 kph.

The NGCP has already upped the threshold to 270 kph in certain areas in the Visayas. Following Yolanda, the grid operator noticed that its transmission facilities recorded wind ratings ranging from 240 kph to 280 kph. Yolanda battered the Visayas with winds of up to 315 kph.

While Alabanza is particular about the cyclones’ gustiness, or sudden brief increases in windspeed, she sees the need to balance it with the regulator.

The NGCP is in the process of identifying areas that need the improvements, though Alabanza said that the challenge lies in determining the facilities that have to be prioritized for enhancement, considering the effects of climate change.

Last Friday, a landslide occurred in NGCP’s substation in Bislig City, Surigao Del Sur due to heavy rains brought by Tropical Depression Vicky, which made landfall over Mindanao around the time the incident happened.

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