NGCP: ‘Malicious’ tree-planting in ROW causes blackouts


The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has reiterated the inevitability of blackouts if landowners continue to plant trees and establish structures within the right of way clearances and demand excessive amounts for access to properties.

“While NGCP is exerting all efforts to provide quality power transmission services to all its customers, these will be futile if we continue to encounter delays not just in new projects, but even during regular maintenance activities,” the NGCP said.

A blackout was recorded in the entire Zamboanga Peninsula last Sept. 15. These included the areas covered by the Zamboanga del Sur Cooperative I and II, Zamboanga del Norte EC, Zamboanga City EC, Misamis Occidental EC I and II, and portions of the Lanao del Norte Cooperative.

The blackout was caused by banana trees “maliciously and intentionally” planted, causing the tripping of Agus 5-Aurora 138-kV line and subsequent tripping of Baloi-Aurora 138 kV line.

NGCP conducted right-of -way clearing activities on both of the lines, except areas between tower 29 and 30 of the Agus 5- Aurora 138-kV line as the landowner refused access for the maintenance activities.

The operator said that uncut trees reached a height that causes line-to-ground fault and subsequent tripping. The planted trees also violated the right-of-way clearances.

In previous reports, the NGCP expressed its support for the refiling of the “Anti-Power Line Disturbance Act” proposed in the 16th congress.

“NGCP is reiterating its support for the passage of the ‘Act prohibiting the planting of plants and trees, and the construction of any structure under or within the right-of-way clearance of all power transmission and distribution lines and providing penalties for violation thereof’ in the current 17th Congress,” it said.

NGCP is also appealing the support of the local government units, community leaders and the public to talk to difficult landowners to prevent power interruptions and assure reliable operations.