It took longer than scheduled for the National Power Corporation (NPC) to complete major maintenance work on its transmission line with the entire mainland grid without electricity on Sunday.
Service finally resumed at around 9 p.m., four hours beyond a promised 5 p.m. deadline. Netizens, however, didn’t hold back hitting back on them and the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO).
“Salamat po sa inyo, hindi po kayo tumutupad ng tamang oras po sa pagbalik ng kuryente, ayos-ayusin niyo po yung trabaho niyo. Nakaka-ubos na po kayo ng pasensya sa lahat. Sawang-sawa na kaming magpaniwala,” a resident commented.
“Kala [namin] isang oras, [yon] pala 3 hours, hindi nyo na lang sinabi na tatlong oras pala yung extended. Hindi na kinaya ng isda sa aquarium 5 hours lang ang kaya,” another said.
The NPC explained that delayed work due to weather concerns was the cause of the extension of the scheduled power outage for Puerto Princesa residents, and apologized for the inconvenience.
Rains throughout the afternoon on Saturday prompted a delay in tie-line maintenance work, according to NPC’s transmission line superintendent, Louie Libarra. On Sunday, the unfinished activity was resumed, although it was not completed on time. He claimed power was restored about 8:27 p.m. on October 17.
He said the NPC performed tie-line repair over the weekend after PALECO planned a substation preventive maintenance on the same period.
“Ginrab (grabbed) lang namin ‘yong pagkakataon na makisabay sa schedule nila (PALECO) kaya nga lang nagkaroon ng konting delay sa pag-implement natin. Maraming factors din, unang-una ay ‘yong weather condition noong Saturday,” he Libarra said.
“Iyong mga naka-program natin noon na activities noong Saturday ay hindi natin na-execute completely, ginawa na natin noong Sunday na kasi biglang umulan. Noong umaga hanggang tanghali ay mainit so nakababad na ang mga linemen natin sa taas ng poste, bilad na sila sa init at biglang bumuhos ang ulan around 1 or 2 p.m.,” he added.
He said that NPC took into account the linemen’s health while deciding whether or not to continue working on Saturday afternoon despite the torrential rains.
He went on to explain that doing maintenance work in the rain and in the presence of thunderstorms would be dangerous to their safety.
“In-abort namin ang activity, ‘yon ang isang nag-cause ng delay sa atinsa implementation nong Sunday kaya humihingi kami ng paumanhin sa mga kababayan natin na naapektuhan. Since nasimulan na namin, actually buong week na ‘yon ay loaded ang mga lineman namin kasi. In-advise kami ni PALECO last Monday — from Monday to Friday ay naghukay na kami ng dalawang butas na paglalagyan ng steel poles natin,” he said.
“Loaded na ‘yong mga linemen natin plus ‘yong bakbakan noong Sabado at Linggo. Isa rin ‘yon sa factors, actually, noong Sunday ay gusto na nila mag-give up. Kinausap ko lang talaga, sabi ko nasimulan na natin, hindi na tayo puwede mag-retreat sa activity natin kasi mas malaking perwisyo sa Puerto Princesa kapag hindi naibalik itong tie-line,” he said.
He stated that the NPC pushed through the activity despite the fact that it had been delayed until Sunday night since all of the electric power coming to Puerto Princesa from the Irawan grid passes via their tie-lines.
The tie-line repair, according to Libarra, is part of the process of converting electric poles to steel poles and relocating operations. It adheres to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 15-meter setback requirement for road expansion projects.
“Itong activity na ito ay part din doon kaya nakisabay kami kay PALECO doon sa total blackout niya ng 8 a.m.-5 p.m. kasi matagal na nakaplano ang activity na ito kaya lang hindi magawa-gawa, ma-pursue dahil it will entail total blackout talaga. Iyong connection natin from bagong structure na tatayo, dadaan sa lahat ng linya ni PALECO na outgoing,” he said.
“Itong total blackout is one time lang ‘yan, hindi na ito mauulit na magkakaroon ng total blackout in connection doon sa ginawa natin na activity,” he added.
Libarra also claimed that no power outages occurred on Saturday, October 16, since the tie-line could be turned off without affecting residences.
The electric cooperative’s advisory, on the other hand, served to warn customers that load shedding may occur since only Delta P’s 10 megawatts and Palawan Power Generation Inc’s (PPGI) 14 megawatts would be able to meet the city’s demand in the absence of NPC’s tie-line.
“May advisory si PALECO na in case kakapusin ang supply, meron mga naka-schedule na load curtailment, magkakaroon ng load shedding,” he said.
On the other hand, PALECO posted on Sunday night that the clearing team from its Technical Services Department (TSD) also helped NPC in clearing and vegetation to speed up the completion of the activity.