Power breakdown hits Luzon, Metro Manila

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Saturday, 21 October 2000

Power breakdown hits Luzon, Metro Manila Due to tripping of NPC lines By MYRNA VELASCO

Luzon suffered from a power breakdown yesterday caused by the successive tripping of the transmission lines of the National Power Corp. (NPC) in Pangasinan and Bulacan. The incident almost duplicated the widespread brownout that hit the country last December because of jellyfish invasion at the Sual plant in Pangasinan.

Energy Secretary Mario Tiaoqui and NPC President Federico Puno held a joint press conference yesterday to deny speculations that the brownouts may have been caused by sabotage.

Tiaoqui and Puno said the power failure was caused by technical malfunctions.

The first power outage occurred at 5:41 a.m. when the NPC transmission line from San Manuel, Pangasinan, to San Jose in Bulacan experienced technical trouble and bogged down.

Immediately, the tripping caused brownouts from Pangasinan to Manila and the provinces of Southern Luzon, particularly in the Bicol region.

While power supply were being partly restored in Metro Manila and nearby areas, the NPC's substation in Angat suffered a system failure due to lightning arrest and transformer overload, leading to a new round of power outages in Metro Manila at around 10:35 a.m.

As of 3:45 p.m. yesterday, NPC had already restored power supply in almost 65 to 70 percent of the areas affected.

Puno said the power firm is doing its best to bring back electricity in all areas as of 4:30 to 5 p.m. yesterday.

In Metro Manila, the energized areas as of press time, include those of Quezon City, Manila, Pasay, Caloocan, Makati, Pasig, Taguig, Malabon, Navotas, Pateros, San Juan, Las Piqas, Paraqaque, and Muntinlupa.

In Central Luzon, electricity was already fully restored in Pampanga, Bicol, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Zambales, Laguna, and Quezon.

As of last update, NPC was still at the process of fixing troubles at lines connecting to Tarlac, Aurora, and some parts of Cavite.

In Bicol region, power had been restored in major areas affected like Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, and Sorsogon.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), October 20, 2000


Electricity restored in much of Manila after massive power failure Filed: 10/20/2000

MANILA, Philippines (AP)  A massive power failure early Friday cut off electricity to tens of millions of people throughout the Philippines' main island of Luzon, including the capital of Manila, officials said.

The officials said the blackout was apparently caused by a system failure and not sabotage.

"We want to reassure the people that so far there is no evidence of sabotage," said Federico Puno, president of state utility National Power Corp.

While Napocor was still investigating the cause of the blackout, officials said they believe it was triggered by the failure of a high- voltage power line linking Pangasinan and Bulacan provinces, which shut down the entire Luzon power grid.

Energy Secretary Mario Tiaoqui, speaking on a local radio station, assured the public that the situation was under control and that the power outage had nothing to do with the current political situation in the country.

Even so, it set off a flurry of rumors of a coup attempt against President Joseph Estrada, who is facing a political crisis over allegations he accepted more than dlrs 11.4 million in bribes and payoffs. Estrada, who faces impeachment proceedings, has denied the accusations.

The outage occurred around 5:45 a.m. (2145 GMT Thursday). Electricity was restored to most parts of metropolitan Manila about four hours later, squelching remaining rumors the outage might have been related to politics.

Last December, more than half of the nation's power supply was knocked out by a failure at a generating plant in Pangasinan, which feeds the power line that failed Friday, when an estimated 50 tons of jellyfish suddenly swam into the plant's cooling system.

Power company officials speculated that the jellyfish may have been fleeing a strong earthquake that struck the Philippines the next night. However, some Philippine legislators expressed doubts about the jellyfish blackout explanation and suggested officials may have been covering up some fundamental problem at the plant.

The Philippines suffered from daily 12-hour power outages in the early 1990s because of the country's small number of aging generators.

The government later liberalized power generation to solve the problem.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), October 21, 2000.

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