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Saturday, August 10, 2019

DOE Lays Down Action Plan to Resolve Palawan Power Woes



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The Department of Energy (DOE) has laid down the roadmap for action that would address the persistent power woes hounding Palawan during the meeting of the DOE-led Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee and Task Force Palawan Electric Cooperative (IACC-TF PALECO) with the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and PALECO representatives, which was held on 25 July in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.



Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi created Task Force PALECO earlier this year to conduct an exhaustive assessment and audit of the power situation in the province. This included the determination of the root causes for the frequent power outages, as well as the consolidation of all recommendations from other concerned agencies into the Task Force’s Final Report.



Among the findings of TF PALECO were the uncoordinated synchronization of the protection system of PALECO and the National Power Corporation’s (NPC) transmission lines; obstructing vegetation along both the long NPC transmission lines and PALECO distribution lines; overloaded substations; the unstable temporary generators; derailed coal power plant; and the slow coordination among various government agencies on distribution line maintenance and improvements.



“We immediately directed PALECO and all relevant government agencies to carry out the recommendations in the final report of the Task Force. The livelihood of consumers and the operations of crucial infrastructure, such as hospitals and government offices hang in the balance. We will not stop working until we finally bring this power issue to an end,” Secretary Cusi stressed.



One of the major problems identified in the audit is the existence of a heavy vegetation problem on the NPC transmission lines in Palawan, especially in the southern towns. To solve this, the PCSD, through the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR), will issue PALECO a special permit for the transportation of the required tools and equipment to be used for the necessary tree cutting and clearing operations. The NPC likewise guaranteed the immediate upgrade of its line protection devices, which minimize the effects of transmission line trippings.



Meanwhile, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) has activated the “Task Force Kapatid” program, which would involve the active participation of 10 electric cooperatives (ECs) to help with the rehabilitation of PALECO. Under this program, the participating ECs will be deploying six engineers and 60 linemen to help PALECO until October 2019. The necessary tools and equipment to effect improvements in PALECO’s distribution system will also be provided.



Furthermore, Palawan Governor Jose C. Alvarez, head of the PCSD, assured the DOE of its efficient coordination with Local Government Units (LGUs) in securing all relevant certificates needed by PALECO.



During the meeting, PALECO also had the opportunity to discuss the progress it has made in the implementation of the action plan it has previously submitted to the DOE. Their presentation prompted various public and private stakeholders to pledge their support to the local EC and guide it towards the necessary steps to effectively and efficiently improve the power supply condition in Palawan.



DOE Undersecretary Vice Admiral Alexander S. Lopez (ret.) led the presentation of the IACC-TF PALECO, together with Assistant Secretary Redentor E. Delola, and DOE-Electric Power Industry Management Bureau Director Mario C. Marasigan. PCSD Executive Director Nelson P. Devanadera and representatives from NEA, NPC, DENR, as well as officials from LGUs, Non-Government Organizations, and the Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, were also in attendance.



According to Secretary Cusi, PALECO will have until the end of 2019 to complete its rehabilitation. “As members of the energy family, it is our primary duty to provide reliable, stable, and affordable electricity services to our countrymen. Help will always be given to those in need of it. However, we must also ensure that those of us in the energy sector are serving our people in the best manner at all times,” he concluded.

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