NGCP Article

NGCP appeals for multi-lateral solution to Zamboanga peninsula power stability issue

Published on August 4, 2020 12:00 AM

Power grid operator NGCP is seeking the government’s intervention in creating long-term solutions to ensure power quality and reliability for customers in the Zamboanga peninsula, particularly for the franchise area of the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZAMCELCO). 

From January to May 2020, NGCP recorded an increased number of undervoltage and voltage fluctuations from both the generation and distribution-side which adversely affected power stability in the area. Short-term measures for the undervoltage issue include the placement of capacitor banks which have been installed as early as 2018 in NGCP’s Pitogo Substation. Currently, four-7.5MVAR capacitor banks at the said substation caters to ZAMCELCO and power supplier Western Mindanao Power Corporation (WMPC). NGCP has also certified WMPC as an Ancillary Services (AS) Provider for Dispatchable Reserve and Reactive Power Support. NGCP also conducted a transposition activity for the Aurora-Nagamin and Nagamin-Zamboanga 138kV lines to help mitigate unbalanced voltage in the area. This activity temporarily addresses the distribution / load side imbalances that contribute to the issue.

The energization of the Kauswagan-Lala-Aurora line, the Lala-Naga(Min)-Zamboanga line, and the completion of the MVIP, barring unforeseen circumstances, will also further improve the voltage condition in the area. 

However, NGCP reiterates that these are only stop gap measures to the larger issues of a) lack of power generation plants to provide voltage support and address increasing demand in the area; and b) lack of unimpeded access to the right-of-way of older lines for maintenance, specifically the 350-kilometer Aurora-Naga Min-Zamboanga line, which serves ZAMCELCO and other customers in the Zamboanga peninsula and is one of the longest radial lines in Mindanao built before NGCP took over power transmission operations. Its weak configuration is also a factor in the power quality issues.

“NGCP has exhausted all short and mid-term remedial measures to help solve the power quality issues being faced by the customers of ZAMCELCO and WMPC. These are, however, only short term, temporary measures implemented to immediately address bigger concerns. We appeal to the government authorities in charge of long-term planning to adopt a more holistic approach to power development, so that the needs of the grid as a whole will be better coordinated, and power plant locations will be more strategic,” the company stressed.

NGCP also appeals to concerned government agencies to address the unresolved and unpaid ROW over old lines built by the National Power Corporation and the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo). “Unimpeded access to the line’s right-of-way corridor is imperative for NGCP to continue with proper maintenance of the transmission lines under its care. NGCP’s limited ability to access the old and long lines in the area contributes to line trippings and worse, causes power interruptions. NGCP has done what it can to address the ROW concerns such as the conduct of regular vegetation trimming activities and public information campaigns, but it can only do so much. Under its Concession Agreement, the obligation to settle these issues remains with TransCo,” NGCP explained.  

The company is also seeking the public’s support to report any hazardous activity within the transmission line corridor, including kite flying, high growing vegetation, and construction activities, among others, which may trigger unscheduled power interruptions. They can report transmission-related breaches or incidents to 0917-TIPNGCP (0917-8476427) / 0918-TIPNGCP (0918-8476427) hotline and email at [email protected]

“There exists a multi-lateral problem which needs a multi-lateral, long-term solution and thorough implementation from our governing agencies,” appealed the company. 

Under the EPIRA, NGCP is limited to the operations and maintenance of power transmission facilities. Its task includes ensuring the readiness of transmission facilities to deliver any and all available power to where it is needed. It cannot intervene in generation or distribution issues, nor is it responsible for ROW concerns over lines built prior to its take-over of transmission operations on 15 January 2009.

NGCP is a Filipino-led, privately owned company in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid, led by majority shareholders and Vice Chairman of the Board Henry Sy, Jr. and Co-Vice Chairman Robert Coyiuto, Jr.###