By Rey Anthony Chiu | 11:40 AM February 06, 2022
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) may achieve what many thought was impossible in bringing back cheaper power source to Bohol in record time, despite the impending fabrication of two special transmission towers to bring the power from Carlos P Garcia island to Ubay.
But, the feat is not without herculean challenges.
In its latest information, the national transmission company said they are working days and nights to bring Bohol back into the national grid on or before February 15, something that treads on the near impossible.
That is because, without the two special towers that span the kilometer wide Basiao channel to Ubay where the Imelda Substation sits, the 128KV geothermal power stops in the island after getting past the submarine cables.
These two special towers which span the channel are so high it allows ships to sail below it, making them the tallest transmission towers in the country, according to NGCP spokesperson Betty Martinez.
The towers were accordingly designed to withstand 100 kilometer winds, but typhoon Odette’s spawned gusts proved to be too much, crumpling the towers and making a steel wool out of them.
The special towers, fabricated in Germany, have to be replaced, but with Basiao channel a key nautical highway, stringing high tension wires above could be a huge risk of electrocution for the ships.
Ordering a fabricated new tower designed to withstand winds stronger that Odette is NGCP’s long term plan, but the company knows Bohol can not wait for that to happen.
The NGCP’s Emergency Restoration System towers come to the rescue in the mean time.
Although widely used when the Yolanda damaged transmission towers in Leyte collapsed in 2013, the ERS, modular steel towers that can replace the fallen transmission towers, are not as tall, certainly no enough to string the kilometer-long cables from Popoo in CPG to Tapal in Ubay.
The NGCP emergency solution: stack these modular towers and strengthen them with dry wires or buntings enough to hold the weight of the cables and high enough for ships to pass below.
The ERS as an emergency tower, allows the NGCP to project the February 15 target they said they could bring in the Leyte power.
But then, transporting the modular steel structures to the site where they would be erected and considering the buntings for the tall emergency towers, this bred another problem: right of way negotiations.
In a Facebook post this week, Ubay sources said Mayor Constantino Reyes has flexed his diplomatic skills to help resolve the issue on the right of way.
Without the immediate resolution, Bohol would again see a hitch that could put back the NGCP target.
The NGCP target, even when accomplished on the 15th, instead of the May, could be good for Bohol which is now already getting its power from expensive generation facilities.
With power from Leyte made available, the burden now shifts to the distribution utilities, which have to complete their pole replacement activities to deliver the available power to every Boholano home.
In its latest update, February 4, Bohol Electric Cooperative I has completed 32% restoration of the over 4,000 damaged poles.
There is no available information from Bohol Light Utilities Incorporated, Tagbilaran City’s power distributor.
There is also no available restoration update from BOHECO II, the distributor that is distributing power in Bohol’s 21 towns. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)