Monday, December 18, 2017

Energy Safety First Amidst Tropical Depression Urduja

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The Department of Energy (DOE) has called on the energy department and its partner agencies to heighten contingency measures and closely monitor Tropical Depression (TD) Urduja (international name: Kai-tak) and another brewing storm outside the Philippine area of responsibility.

“We do not want our kababayans to suffer power interruptions or brownouts, especially during the holidays, but energy safety should be first. With our coordination, we will ensure that the impact of these calamities to energy facilities are minimal and in any case of destruction, restoration will be immediate,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi pointed out.

According to the 8 a.m. bulletin of weather bureau PAGASA, TD Urduja has maximum winds of up to 55 kilometers/hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph and within the vicinity of Dumaran, Palawan.

The DOE is coordinating with the National Power Corporation and privately-owned power generation companies, National Electrification Administration (NEA) and other distribution utilities, the National Transmission Company and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to alert emergency, response and restoration teams for easy mobilization of assets to counter any adverse effect of the storm.

The Energy Development Corporation reporter that the Unified Leyte Geothermal Power Plant was severely affected by typhoon Urduja. The previous power of 463MW (including Tongonan) was reduced to a generation of 215MW. Restoration efforts are underway despite the problems on access since most of its sites are still unreachable due to the multiple landslides.

Based on the consolidated status report as of 10:00 a.m. 18 December, the following electric cooperatives are affected by TD Urduja:

1. Marinduque Electric Cooperative, Inc. (MARELCO) has already restored the town of Sta. Cruz, but Torijos is still undergoing assessment and restoration;

2. Masbate Electric Cooperative, Inc. (MASELCO) has no power in the town of Esperanza and some laterals in the distribution system. The DMCI power plant, however, has been energized at 9:00 a.m. today following its shutdown as a pre-cautionary measure.

3. Northern Samar Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NORSAMELCO) has power except for flooded areas and few lateral lines;

4. Samar 1 and 2 Electric Cooperatives (SAMELCO 1 and 2) are under normal operations but with some isolated power interruptions, especially in SAMELCO 2 area;

5. Sorsogon 1 and 2 Electric Cooperatives (SORECO 1 and 2) have power;

6. Ticao Island Electric Cooperative, Inc. (TISELCO) is already restored;

7. Biliran Electric Cooperative (BILECO) is experiencing total blackout and targets restoration by December 21 in the seven (7) towns affected, including Biliran, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Culaba, Kawayan, Almeria and Naval. Damage assessment is still ongoing and initial reports said the affected areas were unpassable due to damage on major bridges and landslides in the coverage area;

8. Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ESAMELCO) is currently experiencing total blackout, but will have power soon once the recently restored Paranas-Taft-Borongan-Quinapondan 69kilovolt transmission line has completed re-energization with the EC;

9. Leyte II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LEYECO II) has a power outage in the town of Babatngon due to the tripping of Babatngon Apitong 69kV Line, while damage assessment is ongoing;

10. LEYECO V has eleven (11) towns with no power, namely, Calubian, Ormoc (26 brgys), Merida (8), Isabel (4), Palompon (28), Villaba (28), Tabango (10), Leyte (23), Kananga (5), Matag'ob (7), and San Isidro (1);

11. Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SOLECO) has five towns with no power, namely, Hinunangan, Anawahan, Hinundayan, Saint Bernard and San Juan. These towns were affected by the tripping of Nasaug-San Isidro-San Miguel-St. Bernard 69kV line, but the transmission was already energized last December 16;

12. Tablas Island Electric Cooperative, Inc. (TIELCO) has power only in Odiongan City, and awaiting completion of assessment following its manual tripping for safety purposes.

Meanwhile, NGCP is undergoing assessment of the Sta. Barbara 50 megavolt ampere Transformer 2 located in Iloilo, but the facility doesn't have an effect on the operation of the grid.

As regards the petroleum products, Sec. Cusi already directed the DOE-Oil Industry Management Bureau (DOE-OIMB) to look into the complaints of overpricing in Biliran and urged oil companies to ensure the availability of fuels in the typhoon-stricken areas, especially those communities that depend on gasoline and diesel for their daily activities.

As reported by the industry players, one (1) Caltex station located in Ormoc is closed due to flooding and one (1) Shell station is unable to receive fuel deliveries due to damaged bridge and road network, but their other fuel stations are operating normally. Petron Corp. and Phoenix Petroleum also reported normal operations based on initial assessment. The DOE-OIMB is already assessing other areas regarding petroleum concerns.

Furthermore, Cusi has reminded the public to practice E-Safety by immediately reporting to the nearest authority/ies any incidents affecting the power and oil supply facilities and by doing these emergency measures:

• Charge flashlights and mobile phones

• Be informed on the latest news updates

• Switch-off circuit breaker and other electrical systems to avoid

electrocution, among other electrical mishaps.

“We will keep reminding consumers as well as industry participants over and over again, so that we could instill in them these safety practices for their own good in terms of emergency situations like typhoons,” Cusi said.

The DOE asked the public to contact its Consumer Welfare Office (Landline - ‎‎429 2900 local 329) for other consumer concerns.

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