Millions still without power due to 'Glenda'

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez,

Posted at Jul 16 2014 12:51 PM | Updated as of Jul 17 2014 10:25 AM

MANILA (4th UPDATE) – Millions are still without power due to toppled power lines and affected transmission facilities caused by typhoon "Glenda."

As of 6 p.m. on Wednesday, an estimated 4 million customers of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), representing 76 percent of its franchise area, had no electricity.

Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga said the worst hit are areas in southern Luzon, where more than 90 percent are without power. These areas include Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, and Quezon.

The power distributor cannot say when power can be fully restored in the affected areas.

Zaldarriaga said restoring power will depend on transmission lines that will distribute power from the power plants, adding that Meralco’s commitment is to restore power either late Wednesday or by Thursday.

“Sa south, I’m afraid mahihirapan tayo dahil walang dadaluyan [ang kuryente],” he told dzMM Wednesday night.

Zaldarriaga said 110 Meralco-owned transmission and distribution poles and 104 transmission and distribution lines were affected by the typhoon.

National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza said power has been restored in 36 percent of Luzon users, up from 11 percent when the typhoon first hit.

She said the NGCP will have a clearer picture of the damage by Thursday.

“It’s very difficult to say at this time without having completed the line patrol. The restoration schedule really depends on the nature and extent of the damage. We were only able to send out our men to assess lines when weather permitted, which was in the afternoon of today,” she told ANC.

NGCP said the following transmission lines and facilities were affected:

500-kV facilities affected (largest lines that NGCP maintains):
1. San Jose – Tayabas Line
2. Dasma - Tayabas Line
3. Dasma – Ilijan Line

230-kV facilities affected:
1. Hermosa – Malolos Line
2. Hermosa – Duhat Line
3. Hermosa – Limay Line
4. San Jose – Balintawak Line
5. Daraga – Bacman Line
6. Labo – Naga Line
7. Naga – Tiwi C Line
8. Naga - Daraga Line
9. Daraga - Tiwi A Line
10. Gumaca - Labo Line
11. Naga - Tayabas Line
12. Gumaca - Kalayaan Line
13. Gumaca - Labo Line
14. Tayabas - Pagbilao Line
15. Malaya – Kalayaan Line
16. San Jose – Malolos Line
17. Binan – Muntinlupa Line
18. Binan – Dasma Line
19. Binan – Bay Line
20. Calaca – Bacnotan Line
21. Calaca – Sta.Rosa Line
22. Calaca – Amadeo Line
23. Araneta – Paco Line

115-kV facilities affected:
1. Dasmarinas-Rosario Line
2. Araneta – Kamuning Line

69-kV facilities affected:
1. Mexico – Clark Line
2. Limay – Exemplar Line
3. Olongapo – OEDC Line
4. Mexico – PIMU Line
5. Mexico – PELCO Line
6. Naga – Naga Line
7. Naga – Tinambac Line
8. Gumaca-Hondagua-Tagkawayan Line
9. Famy – Infanta Line
10. Bay – Plant E Line
11. All 69-kV Lines in Batangas and Sorsogon

1. Facility: Paranas – Taft – Quinapondan 69-kV line
Customer/s affected: ESAMELCO
2. Facility: Calbayog – Catbalogan 69-kV line
Customer/s affected: SAMELCO I
3. Facility: Calbayog – Catarman – Allen 69-kV line
Customer/s affected: NORSAMELCO
4. Facility: Calbayog – Palanas – Cara 69-kV line
Customer/s affected: SAMELCO I
5. Facility: Catarman – Bobolosan 69-kV lline
Customer/s affected: NORSAMELCO

Other facilities affected:
1. Leyte-Luzon 350-kV High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC)

NGCP said South Luzon areas, including provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Quezon, and Bicol Region have been isolated from the grid due to the typhoon. Power flow from Luzon to Visayas was also cut.

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) earlier said 15 electric cooperatives, serving 1.5 million households, are also without power.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said the damage caused by the typhoon left 60 to 70 percent of the entire Luzon region without power.

He noted, however, that power plants across the country are intact and are on standby to be tapped by the distributors.

“I haven’t received a report, and I hope I won’t receive a report of any power plants being damaged at this point,” he said.

Petilla said government has yet to assess the full extent of the damage, adding that it cannot set a timeline on when power will be restored unless the damage has been measured.

Energy officials will be meeting Thursday morning to give a full assessment of the damage.

“The only thing for us to do is to do this is by foot patrol and aerial. In the case of Metro Manila, mas madali para sa NGCP kasi ang land area sa Metro Manila maliit lang but there are many customers. So madaling i-assess. Sa mga probinsya sa southern Luzon, bundok-bundok so kailangan aerial,” Petilla said in a press briefing.

Petilla appealed for the public’s patience and gave his assurance that the NGCP, Meralco and NEA are doing all they can to restore power as soon as possible.

“We have one mission: to put back power as quick as we can. Not only because the businesses rely on usage, it’s really our job to make sure na mayroong kuryente lahat,” he said.

Petilla also urged local government units and concerned agencies in Southern Luzon to stock up on fuel to power generators enough to supply demand overnight.

He said this is to ensure that hospitals and other establishments in these typhoon-hit areas can serve the public.

“You have to stock up on fuel for generators given the situation na hindi natin nasisiguro na ngayong gabi ay mababalik ang kuryente,” he said.

He noted that a fuel shortage shouldn’t be an issue since gas stations are operational, unlike what happened in Yolanda-hit eastern and central Visayas in November last year, when gas stations were shut down for days.

The typhoon shut down Manila and nearby provinces as it brought strong winds late Tuesday until early Wednesday.

But Petilla said the recent power outage in Luzon won’t have an effect on the current study for a need to declare a state of calamity because of a looming power crisis.

“It’s a very weak reason for recommending something on the power crisis, it’s more long term that we’re looking at,” he said.