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NGCP says brownouts to hit Bicol until 2020

Magallanes, Sorsogon --- Power outages will continue to hound the mainland of Bicol Region until next year as the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) pursues its pole replacement program, an agency official said.

Nilda Somera, NGCP regional communication and public affairs officer for South Luzon, said the program aims to improve the resiliency of the grid to ensure reliable service to the public.

“The NGCP is switching from wood pole to steel poles which could withstand typhoons and earthquakes,” the official said in an interview with Bicol Mail.

The program spans from Camarines Norte down to Sorsogon province and covers all the local distribution utilities.

Somera said that for Sorsogon province, the pole replacement activity will continue until the part of 2020 as there are still around 300 posts that have to be replaced which would require seventeen power shutdowns.

NGCP is only allowed twice per month for power shutdowns, thus it will take at least 8 to 9 months to complete the work, barring any supervening events, Somera explained.

For this year, four more power shutdowns will be initiated by the NGCP which are scheduled on November 27, December 7, 17 and 21.

Somera also explained that this November, they shut down four times as they skipped the schedule in October in deference to the request of Gov. Chiz Escudero so as not to disrupt the month-long celebration of the Kasanggayahan Festival.

The NGCP official said they give advance notice to local distribution utilities to be affected by the power outage to allow consumers to plan their schedules especially those that rely on electric power.

Meanwhile, the frequent blackouts that pester consumers in this town may soon be over, or at least minimized.

SORECO I General Manager Edwin Garcia said the brand new 10-MVA sub-station installed in Bulan town may soon be operational by end of this year.

Garcia said they just have to do line clearing to ensure that no hazards exist along the distribution lines going to this town. However, the issuance of the cutting permit by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) hinders the conduct of the activity.

Magallanes is under the area coverage of SORECO I together with the municipalities of Bulan, Matnog, Irosin, Barcelona, Bulusan, Juban and Casiguran.

Sudden and frequent brownouts which stretch for hours have been plaguing local consumers here with electric appliances often busted as a result of power outages.

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