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DOE assures energy aid to quake-hit Region 8

MANILA-- Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi went to Region 8 twice, visited geothermal plants and personally reviewed the damage caused to energy facilities by the July 6 earthquake that hit the provinces of Leyte, Samar and Bohol.

Despite the urgency of the need to restore power in the affected areas, Cusi said safe practices distribution must be observed from proper procedures for energy generation, transmission, distribution and even consumption for end users to ensure a consistent and resilient supply.

During a press conference held at the DOE Media Center, Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella expressed the department's appreciation for the efforts exerted by personnel of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) which operates the Tongonan Geothermal plant.

We are committed to secure energy facilities and we have to device clever ways to ensure an efficient delivery of power and services, Fuentebella said.

Fuentebella also reported that five days since the earthquake struck, some generation facilities have already been repaired and are being tested ahead of the DOE's 10-day deadline for the restoration of services.

The DOE hopes to be able to dispatch the first 100 megawatts (MW) through the Units 2 and 3 of the Upper Mahiao Geothermal Power Plants which generate 26 MW by the sixth day which is July 12.

Meanwhile, EDC reported that they are already conducting the necessary tests on the repaired marshalling station or central switching station in coordination with the NGCP to ensure its safe operation.

An additional 77.5 MW will be sourced from the Malitbog GPP unit 1 within 16 hours.

EDC is targeting the delivery of 317 MW out of a total capacity of 625 MW from its geothermal power plants by day 10, July 17.

The 625 MW capacity is the combined capacity of the 180 MW Mahanagdong GPP, 213 MW Malitbog GPP, 120 MW Mahiao GPP, and the 112 MW Tongonan GPP.

Generator sets have been distributed by EDC to vital town installations like municipal halls, hospitals, and water pumping stations for a continued delivery of basic services.

Installation of bypass lines for the transmission of power from Cebu to supply Leyte, Samar and Bohol has already begun.

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 looked at by the department is the Local Government Unit of Bohol through its Power Advisory Committee.

Apart from promoting efficient and safe utilization of energy, the DOE introduced 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.

The department also assured 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.

Overall, the most valuable lesson learned from this experience is that we all have to be in sync so that we are not only resilient to typhoons but major earthquakes as well, Fuentebella said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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