NGCP upgrades, energizes new Bohol special towers

New Bohol special tower

(UPDATED May 10) The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) confirmed that it completed the upgrade and energization of the two new permanent special transmission towers in Bohol four months after the onslaught of Typhoon Odette and 12 days ahead of its deadline.

In the May episode of Power Podcast, NGCP spokesperson Atty. Cynthia Alabanza said that the special towers were restored on April 17 and energized on April 18, which was 12 days ahead of its April 30 deadline. The landfall of Tropical Storm Agaton in Samar and Leyte delayed the permanent restoration of the two towers in Bohol.

“That actually delayed the restoration for a couple of weeks. When Agaton arrived, we were getting ready to energize the permanent towers at that time so we would have done it earlier if not for Agaton,” Alabanza said.

Located in Ubay on mainland Bohol and Pres. C.P. Garcia town on Lapinig Island, Towers 39 and 40 of the 138-kilovolt (kV) Maasin-Ubay line are now designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour (kph) versus the previous design’s 240 kph. The new towers, both 120 meters tall, also use a design meant for 500kV lines.

Though many people would find the restoration timeline of four months as long, Alabanza pointed out that it was actually rushed due to the many requests from local stakeholders.

Minadali talaga namin yung permanent restoration ng [towers], which ordinarily should take right months, but the engineering team they were able to finish last April 18,” she said. 

Alabanza took the opportunity to commend NGCP’s linemen for restoring the two special towers ahead of schedule amid the “engineering challenges” they faced.

“It was really an engineering and lineman’s victory for us because it was too difficult,” Alabanza said.

Odette’s gustiness reached 255 kph when it made landfall on Lapinig Island on December 16, 2021, which resulted in the toppling of the original special towers and in turn, Bohol’s disconnection from the Visayas Grid. The province was then reconnected to the grid in February, through temporary towers that form part of the grid firm’s emergency restoration systems.

In a related development, the permanent restoration of the 138kV Ormoc-Maasin Line, which Agaton affected, would require the grid firm to report and apply to the Energy Regulatory Commission. The line is part of the Leyte-Bohol interconnection.