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Friday, May 5, 2017

NGCP now blames ‘maliciously’ planted trees for massive Mindanao blackout

PAGADIAN CITY – The privately-owned National Grid Corporation has again blamed landowners for their failure to protect its power pylons following a massive blackout in the whole of Zamboanga Peninsula, Misamis Occidental and some parts in Lanao del Norte in southern Philippines. 
NGCP blamed “maliciously” planted trees between two power pylons in Iligan City in Lanao del Norte that caused outage in the provinces on Friday. It said branches of trees touched the power lines that resulted in the power outage of the 138KV line of Agus 5. 
“The outage of Agus 5-Aurora 138KV was caused by maliciously planted trees which touched the conductors between Tower numbers 2 and 3 in Ditucalan, Iligan City,” NGCP said. 
The massive outage affected many electric cooperatives in Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga City, including those in Misamis and Lanao provinces. 
In Zamboanga City, electricity was cut off in the morning and only restored around 3 p.m. and many residents complained about frequent low voltage and sudden outages and fluctuation of power over the past weeks. 
It was unknown why NGCP failed to maintain its private towers or workers to clean the surroundings of their pylons. Even the security of these structures are being delegated by the NGCP to the military despite its being a private company. 
NGCP has repeatedly blamed landowners near power pylons every time there is outages or blackout in Mindanao. Even when rebels bombed steel pylons, NGCP would fault landowners where the structures are located for not immediately allowing their linemen to make the necessary repairs. 
Landowners have also accused NGCP of trespassing and allegedly harassing them into agreeing to allow workers to fix any damage pylons without permission from them. Many landowners claimed they were not being paid by the NGCP for the use of their land. 
Just last year, rebels bombed Tower 25 in the village of Linamon in Ramain town in Lanao del Sur and effectively cutting off electricity in many areas there. The steel pylon is part of 138 kilovolt Agus 2-Kibawe line. It was the second time that the tower had been attacked since 2015 and the 6th bombing of NGCP towers in 2016. 
NGCP blamed the Sambitory family where the tower is erected for allegedly not cooperating with them and refusing them access to conduct repairs of damaged pylon. Two power pylons were also bombed in North Cotabato province in 2016. 
The twin bombings of Towers 95 and 96 of the Kibawe-Kabacan 138-kilovolt line occurred in the villages of Kitulaan and Aroman in Carmen town. And Tower 63 was also bombed in the town of Aleosan also in North Cotabato province – two months after it had been toppled down by a blast in January. (Mindanao Examiner)
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