Bomb threats on election day loom over Mindanao power grid

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Iligan City (CNN Philippines) — Nine days before the national elections, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) admitted that the bombings of towers are still a threat to the Mindanao power grid.

NGCP said they have been negotiating with families claiming rights over the lands where transmission lines are placed.

Also read: Gov't prepared for attacks on power facilities

Lanao del Sur Provincial Police Director Senior Supt. Rustom Duran also appealed to the public to help the security sector to help in securing the transmission lines.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) also issued a resolution to deputize the Department of Energy (DOE), National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM), Philippine National Police (PNP), National Electrification Administrration (NEA), National Power Corporation (NPC), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), among others, to provide sufficient personnel and assist in clearance operations to secure the nationwide transmission lines, substations and power facilities, secure the area of Tower 25 located along Agus 2-Kibawe 138kV line, and provide pertinent information to cause the prosecution of offenders who disrupt elections.

All systems go

Meanwhile, NGCP announced to the media on Sunday (May 1) its readiness in the coming elections amid the challenges of El Niño and bombings of transmission towers in Mindanao.

Related: Gov't assures public of 'comfortable' power supply during elections

The El Niño phenomenon has taken its toll on the hydroelectric power plants in Mindanao.

According to Dennis Taal of the Cagayan de Oro Control Center, Lake Lanao, which is Mindanao's largest source of power, is now at a critical level of 669.04 meters above sea level elevation, below its minimum operating level of 669.15 meters elevation.

At its optimum level, Lake Lanao generates 800 MW of electricity, now it is only generating 150 MW.

However, on election day, NGCP promised a reserve of 390 MW in case problems arise. On May 9, the total demand is 1,711 MW.

In case a power plant shuts down unexpectedly on election day, NGCP said it can get power from bilateral power sources and the 216 MW embedded generators will be in full operation.

Also read: NGCP cannot promise 'blackout-free' Mindanao on May 9

Taal claimed power plants have also been preparing for expected electricity demands on election day. Power plants in Bukidnon, Butuan, Davao, and Zamboanga have been generating and conserving more electricity in preparation for May 9.

Meanwhile, more capacities are being added to the grid. Recently, the Therma-South Coal Fired Unit 2 and Sarangani Energy Corp. Coal Fired that produces a total of 250 MW are now operational. Three more are set to be operational in the coming months.

NGCP said that all contingency action plans have been completed including preventive and corrective maintenance, inspection of critical lines, standby generators, and row clearing of critical lines.

Command centers will also be activated and manned starting on the day before the elections until May 11.