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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, April 27, 2009
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‘10-hour Visayas blackout
shows Negros vulnerable’
BY CARLA GOMEZ

The 10-hour blackout that hit the Visayas Saturday is a glaring reminder of the urgent need for Negros Occidental to generate more of its own power, Roberto Montelibano, president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said yesterday.

The impact of the blackout on business was very bad, power is very critical to ensuring investor confidence and the economic growth of the province, said Montelibano, who is also a director of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative.

Negros needs to invest in its own power generation, Cebu and Panay are already building more plants to meet their needs, he pointed out.

The Renewable Energy Act has been approved, it opens a lot of potential for Negros power generation, he added.

An investigation into the trip-off of the backbone line that transmits power from Luzon and Leyte, which triggered the close to 10 hour blackout in most parts of the Visayas Saturday, is underway, Zosimo Briones, Negros head of the National Grid Corp. Philippines, said yesterday.

Briones said the trip-off cut off transmission of about 100 megawatts from Luzon and 400 megawatts from Leyte to the rest of the Visayas causing overloads in demand on the power plants in Cebu, Negros, and Iloilo that triggered a system collapse.

At about noon Saturday the Palinpinon power plants in Negros Oriental were restarted but were unable to meet the total needs of Negros Island, he said.

The peak demand of Negros during summer is 220 megawatts while the Palinpinon plants are able to generate only about 140 megawatts, Briones said. On Saturday Palinpinon was only able to meet 60 percent of the power needs of Negros, he added.

What happened Saturday was a glaring reminder of the inability of Negros to generate enough of its own power to meet its needs, if cut off from the rest of the Visayas grid, Briones said.

There is an urgent need for Negros to begin generating more power for itself to be self-sufficient, he added.

The trip off occurred at 9:42 a.m. and power was restored from Leyte to the rest of the Visayas at about 7 p.m. Saturday, he said.

The Energy Development Corp. was conducting maintenance work at the power marshalling plant in Leyte when the trip-off occurred, Briones said.

EDC denied that it caused the trip-off and we are still investigating the cause, he added.

The nightly brownouts in the CENECO coverage area are caused by load shedding as instructed by the NGCP due to insufficient power supply during peak hours, cooperative officials explained.*CPG

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