DOE still in the dark on cause of Mindanao blackout

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2014 02:57 PM | Updated as of Feb 28 2014 06:23 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) is still determining the cause of the blackout that hit parts of Mindanao Thursday morning.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said what is important at this time is that power is being restored.

Around 70% of the entire grid has been restored, as of 12 p.m.

While Petilla is not ruling out sabotage, the secretary said it is unlikely the cause.

No reported bombings or tripping of power plants were reported shortly before the blackout.

When asked why 6 hours have passed and no one can still pinpoint what happened, Petilla said Mindanao has an antiquated system that the operator cannot just determine the cause of any tripoff.

Petilla said he has already ordered DOE and the National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO) to investigate the cause of the problem.

He added that initial reports indicate that the blackout occurred first in the Pulangi area in Bukidnon, but it is also possible that it was just affected by an earlier trip-off in transmission or generation facilities.

Earlier this week, energy officials drew flak from President Aquino for the delay in bringing back electricity supply in Cateel, Davao Oriental.

Petilla promises to restore power in 45 days and not earlier. When asked what happens if he can't deliver on his promise, Petilla said, "Bahala na si Presidente sa akin."

While power was restored partially in several parts of Mindanao, it will certainly experience rotating power interruptions in the summer.

According to Petilla, the outlook for summer in Mindanao is a deficiency of 170 megawatts which translates to 3-hour rotating power interruptions.