THE National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) warned Sunday of a Mindanao-wide blackout if the right-of-way problem for the maintenance of its transmission lines would not immediately be addressed.

In a statement, the private firm was specifically seeking the immediate assistance of the government and members of the Philippine Army as its ROW woes breached critical level with the sustained tripping of the Agus 2-Kibawe Line 1 in Mindanao on Saturday.

“The tripping of the line was caused by a fallen tree cutting the line conductors. This leaves NGCP with only one line catering to the Agus 1 and 2 power plants and threatening the entire Mindanao island with complete isolation from these hydropower plants should the remaining line become unavailable,” it said.

NGCP said the situation is further aggravated as landowners were refusing entry to its personnel deployed to clear and restore these lines which are vital to the grid.

“It has become the practice of some uncooperative landowners to intentionally plant trees or build structures under high voltage transmission lines, and demand for recompense when we seek entry into the property to conduct maintenance activities. The trees and other structures under our facilities breach our safety clearances and endanger the reliability of the entire grid,” NGCP stressed.

The company said it was sending an urgent request to the Department of Energy (DOE) and Philippine Army to assist in the negotiations with landowners and clearing of the lines, respectively, as soon as possible.

The frequent dips in voltage and frequency severely affect both household appliances and industrial equipment.

“NGCP is seeking all avenues of support, from the DOE to the military to the public," NGCP said.

"We are also appealing to the local government units for a resolution prohibiting tree-planting and building any structure under transmission lines. This does not only affect NGCP or the hydroplants, which form the bulk of their power supply, but all the power consumers in Mindanao stand to bear even longer power interruptions,” the company said. (SDR/Sunnex)