Massive power outage hits Mindanao

Massive power outage hits Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - A massive power outage hit Mindanao on Easter dawn engulfing much of the island in darkness for up to seven hour in some areas.

Initial reports said the power went out past midnight affecting many areas including Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Agusan, General Santos City, Zamboanga City, Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon, Surigao City, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and Cotabato City.

The islands of Siargao and Basilan were not affected, reports said.

Power snapped at about 1 a.m. and restored at 6:30 a.m. in Cotabato City and nearby areas. In Davao del Sur, power was restored about 7 a.m. but went out anew about an hour later.

In Davao City, the Davao Light and Power Co. said it was still trying to restore full power using its generator sets.

NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza said in a text message that all transmission substations and plants connected to backbone lines in Mindanao were "synchronized to the grid as of 7:50a.m." All were running and connected to the main transmission lines. It is now up to the power distribution firms and electricity cooperatives to restore electricity supply to the household level, and they are now "normalizing" operations, she said.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is tracing what caused the Mindanao-wide power outage and the investigation will start with the state-run Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric power complex in Lanao del Sur. Energy authorities are tracing the events from the "first tripping" at the Agus 6 and Agus 7 areas, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said in a text message.

Bambie Capulong, communications officer of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), said teams were immediately dispatched to investigate the cause of the power interruption.

"We are still determining the cause and extent of the problem. Root cause is still under investigation," Capulong said in a text message to the Inquirer.

Capulong added that the NGCP already mobilized teams to troubleshoot and provide electricity to areas affected by the blackout.

"NGCP is working to restore power services to affected customers in Mindanao," Capulong said.

Power returned at around 4 in the morning in several areas including Davao City and General Santos City.

In Digos City, another power interruption was reported at around 7:50 in the morning.

Power is still out in other areas including Agusan del Sur and Marawi City.

NGCP is expected to release a full incident report on Sunday morning.

The last time Mindanao experienced a similar island-wide power outage was last year when the power generators of the Steag State Power Company in Misamis Oriental conked out.

In recent weeks, NGCP said the power situation in Mindanao was worsening with the decreasing water level at the hydropower plants in Lanao and Bukidnon - which account for the bulk of the island's power supply because of the dry spell being experienced since early this year.

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