Thursday, July 13, 2017

DOE Assures Energy Aid to Quake-hit LGUs

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Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi today said efforts are underway to restore energy facilities in major parts of Region 8 and Bohol by tomorrow following the 6.5 magnitude earthquake.

During the regional coordinating council meeting on Monday in Ormoc City, Cusi and other Cabinet officials assured government assistance to quake-stricken local government units in Region 8 and Bohol.

Cusi said the DOE is addressing the effects of the magnitude 6.5 earthquake in three ways: immediately restore power, find alternative sources of energy, and ease the burden of the people.

“Five days after the quake, we are hoping to start the geothermal power plants and might soon bring back power to major parts of Leyte and Bohol."

The DOE has a 10-day timeline to restore power supply. "The people are working double time to repair necessary energy facilities," Cusi said.

As of 8:00 a.m. today, Energy Development Corp. (EDC) as operator of the geothermal power plants reported that they are already conducting necessary technical tests on the repaired marshalling station or central switching station in coordination with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) to ensure its safe operation.

Once all pre-cautionary measures are taken by this critical facility, EDC will submit all tests results by late afternoon today.

If all goes well, this will signal the re-energization of all main transformers and the start-up of Upper Mahiao Geothermal Power Plants (GPP) Units 2 and 3 with 26 megawatts (MW) capacity each, and Malitbog GPP Unit 1 with 77.5MW, which would take about 16-18 hours.

Based on the report, EDC is targeting the delivery of 317 MW out of a total capacity of 625 MW from its geothermal power plants by Day 10 (17 July 2017). The 625 MW capacity is comprised of the following GPP: 180 MW Mahanagdong GPP, 213 MW Malitbog GPP, 120 MW Mahiao GPP, and the 112 MW Tongonan GPP.

EDC has also distributed generator sets to vital town installations, such as Municipal/City Halls, water pumping stations, hospitals, among others, so they can continue their delivery of services.

The DOE is also in talks with alternative power providers, such as Trans Asia, to mobilize the power barges to be brought to Leyte and Bohol.

Last Saturday, the DOE Secretary inspected the Unified Leyte Geothermal Power Plants, which were heavily affected by the temblor, to check on the extent of damage and how to speed up the rehabilitation of the facilities.

For the transmission part, installation of by-pass lines to enable power to flow from Cebu to augment supply to Leyte, Bohol and Samar has started.

Moreover, reports gathered by the DOE indicated that the repair of the Ormoc substation facility, which delivers power to Southern Leyte, Samar, and Bohol sub-grids, is underway.

For power distribution, all 11 electric cooperatives in Region 8 and 3 in Bohol are already ready to receive power.

As an institutional way forward towards energy resiliency, the DOE has recommended to the Regional Development Council (RDC) for Region 8 to create a Committee for Power to address the power related concerns of the region and prioritize measures related to resiliency, especially of power facilities. One of the best practices being look at by the Department is the Local Government Unit of Bohol through its Power Advisory Committee.

It will also strengthen its information drive for the renewable energy (RE) options for consumers, such as the net metering system (NMS) and the green energy option (GEO).

Apart from promoting efficient and safe utilization of energy, the DOE introduce the concept of accounting for generators to optimize availability of power, as among the emergency measures, to all distribution utilities and consumers in the area.

On transmission sector resiliency, the DOE wants to fast-track the Cebu-Bohol submarine cable targeted by NGCP by 2020 to establish an alternative transmission route for the provinces in Region 8 to ensure continuous delivery of power in the event of similar calamities.

Additionally, it requires the active participation of the Transmission Corporation to check on their transmission assets and the concessionaire's compliance with its obligations including the required ancillary services and resiliency policies.

Above all, the DOE ensures the compliance of industry participants with the reserve or replacement power and ancillary services requirements, and encourage more energy investments utilizing Executive Order 30 which created the Energy Investment Coordinating Council.

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