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Taal eruption triggers brownouts

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By Myrna M. Velasco

With mother nature’s wrath manifesting through the feared menacing eruption of the Taal volcano, a concomitant suffering for Filipinos had been brownouts ignited since Sunday in nearby areas – primarily in Cavite and Batangas provinces.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), electricity service interruptions had been experienced in some Cavite towns; as well as in Tanauan, Talisay and Laurel towns in Batangas.

As of Sunday evening, system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) reported to the DOE that several of its transmission lines had tripped: including the 500-kilovolt Dasmarinas-Ilijan line; the 500kV San Jose-Tayabas line 2; and its 4×600-megavolt ampere (MVA) Dasmarinas transformers.

The transmission firm said some of the actions it already carried out had been the restoration of the 230-kV Santa Rita-San Lorenzo tie-line; and it also had its first attempt of re-energizing the 500kV Dasmarinas-Ilijan line, although it failed.

The energy department emphasized that it has been closely collaborating with all relevant stakeholders in the energy sector as well as with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center to monitor and address “emerging problems that may affect energy supply in concerned areas.”

It explained that the cause of power interruptions had been the hapless fusing of volcanic eruption, the series of earthquake incidents as well as the accompanying ash fall, lava mud and rocks being spewed by the rupturing Taal volcano.

At the level of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), it indicated that it “advised all electric cooperatives to take all appropriate contingency measures to mitigate the impact on electric services to consumers.”

Further, the agency stressed it will activate the Emergency Restoration Organization “when needed to immediately implement emergency restoration plan and continuously monitor the situation.”

For the oil companies, the DOE noted that Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation which operates its refinery in Batangas is still on a “business as usual” mode, but it is on round-the-clock monitoring as to what will happen next on such another natural calamity that the country is confronted with.

Nevertheless, Shell reported to the energy department that seven (7) of its retail stations within the 6 to 35-kilometer radius of Taal “are currently closed down for safety of staff.”

Leading oil player Petron Corporation, for its part, has apprised the DOE that its terminals in Batangas and Cavite are not affected.

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