Blackouts Threaten Philippines' Mindanao After Tower Attacked

  • Red alert raised in nation's south; 2 hydro plants isolated
  • Mindanao facing possible grid collapse: transmission company

The Philippines is facing possible power outages on its second-largest island after an attack on a transmission tower that’s preventing two hydroelectric plants from supplying to the grid.

Mindanao is “facing a possible grid collapse if the situation persists,” National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, which operates the power-transmission highway, said in a statement posted on its Facebook and Twitter accounts. Davao City and General Santos City are in “real danger of being completely cut off” from power supplies, it said. A red alert has been raised in the southern island, which means it has no contingency reserves.

Two units of the Agus hydroelectric power complex with a combined capacity of 150 megawatts were isolated from the grid after unidentified men bombed Tower 25 in Lanao del Sur province on Christmas Eve. National Grid said it has been unable to restore the facility after the owner of the property refused entry due to payment issues.

Mindanao, home to a quarter of the Philippines’ more than 100 million people and the source of 40 percent of the nation’s food requirements, has suffered periodic power outages for years because its plants are aging and mostly hydroelectric facilities that can’t operate during droughts.

A power transmission tower in North Cotabato, a province in Mindanao, was also bombed Dec. 10 by unidentified men, causing blackouts in some parts of the region, police said. The Standard on Jan. 2 said about 15 towers were attacked in 2015.

Mindanao had 2,211 megawatts of installed capacity as of the end of 2014, half of which were hydroelectric plants. It will add at least 1,860 megawatts of new capacity from this year through 2019 as companies including San Miguel Corp., Aboitiz Power Corp. and Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc. build plants.

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