DOE checks damage on energy facilities in quake-hit Visayas


MANILA — The Department of Energy (DOE) has been inspecting the extent of the damage brought about by the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that hit Leyte at 4:03 p.m. Thursday.

In a news release, the department reported that the tripping of the Ormoc-Maasin Feeder load caused a total power failure of the Bohol grid at about 4:06 p.m.

It said market intervention was declared by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) as system operator at about 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. due to the isolation of the Leyte and Samar areas and the tripping of the Leyte A power plant.

The outage of Leyte A power plant caused power interruption in the Panay and Negros areas due to the Under Frequency Relay (UFR).

Initial report from the power generator, Green Core Geothermal Inc., indicated that its 37-megawatt (MW) Palinpinon plant in Leyte tripped at 4:04 p.m. due to the activation of the Cebu-Negros System Integrity Protection Scheme because the epicenter located in Kananga, Leyte was near its compound. However, the plant was back online by 5 p.m.

The DOE also reported that Leyte and Bohol experienced a total power failure and that while Cebu, Negros and Panay have already been energized, the power situation in these provinces may still be volatile due to the loss of generating capacity of affected geothermal plants.

In the power generation sector, Vice President Lito Santos of the Energy Development Corp. (EDC), which owns and operates the Unified Leyte Geothermal Power Plant (ULGPP), reported to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi that all employees in the area have been accounted for, although some of them suffered minor injuries.

Santos further said that all of ULGPP’s units, which generate more than 500 MW, tripped. He however assured Cusi that assessments were ongoing and that they will prioritize the Tongonan Unit.

The EDC observed that the 138-kilovolt (kV) tie-line is intact and can be used in restoring the operations of its generators to deliver electricity into the grid, which may take one to two weeks. This timeline may change after a thorough assessment is conducted.

The DOE directed all the managers of the energy facilities, including the power distribution utilities, to submit regular updates for proper coordination and quick restoration.