TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol (PNA)–Bohol ma-naged to restore power supply within 27 hours on its own after the shutdown of the geothermal plant of the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) in Leyte, which is the main source of power supply of the pro-vince, when a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck Leyte Thursday afternoon.
Power supply in Tagbi-laran City within the service area of Bohol Light Company, Inc. (BLCI) resumed at around 7 p.m. the following day, July 7 and went on for two hours at a time in the first round rationing.
From 10 p.m., power supply in the city went on uninterrupted, except Poblacion 1 and Poblacion 2 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. the following day. Other parts of Bohol also partake through Boheco I.
Power distribution had been on rationing until 11:30 p.m. Saturday when all BLCI feeders have been energized already.
As of 11 p.m. Saturday, Bohol Electric Cooperative (BOHECO I) service areas–Panglao, Loay, Maribojoc, and Tubigon–started receiving power supply generated from Janopol Hydroelectric Power Plant and Sevilla Mini Hydro of Boheco I.
Bohol plunged in darkness Thursday evening after the Ormoc-Maasin 138-kv line tripped at 4:06 p.m., three minutes after the earthquake jolted the town of Kananga which is close to Jaro, Leyte where the epicenter was traced.
Part of EDC’s Tongo-nan Geothermal Power Plant, the “largest steam field in the world”, is in Ka-nanga.
Bohol relies on the geothermal power plant in Leyte for its daily con-sumption of 60MW-76MW.
The blackout was initially estimated to stretch to at least three weeks for the National Grid Corpora-tion of the Philippines (NGCP) to find alternative sources of power supply to energize its transmission lines while the Tongonan plant is down.
Alarmed on the length of time that Bohol will have to suffer from total power shutdown, Gov. Edgar Chatto, who is in Canada to attend a gathering of the Conbusac, called the mem-bers of the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group (BEDAG) to con-vene right then.
During the BEDAG meeting, suspended pro-vincial administrator Al-fonso Damalerio II- -acting as volunteer from the pri-vate sector- -suggested to find a contingency measure to address the immediate need to restore power supply in Bohol.
Damalerio suggested to tap Salcon Power Corp. (SPC) for the operation of the Bohol Diesel Power Plant (BDPP).
For its part, SPC takes the risk of running the BDPP without any hold of Power Supply Agreement in response to apparent panic of the consumers who feared a repeat of the 2013 experience when su-pertyphoon Yolanda shut-down the power transmis-sion route from Leyte to Bohol.
Though it is a high-risk for SPC-BDPP to run the 12-MW power plant without any hold of Power Supply Agreement, they still agreed to supply power to BLCI to alleviate the predicament suffered by the consumers on the supply of power for water, hospitals and other essential needs.
Because SPC-BDPP is running again, it was also able to jump-start Boheco I that needed to run its hydro-power plants to supply electricity to their consumers on rationing basis also.
Without the Power Supply Agreement, SPC-BDPP risks of not getting paid for its expenses in supplying diesel as fuel for the power plant in Bara-ngay Dampas, Tagbilaran City.
On this, BLCI encou-rages its consumers to conserve power usage to maximize the available supply to shorten power rationing schedule.
On the other hand, Department of Energy (DOE) Sec. Al Cusi also assured Chatto that Bohol will have power from Cebu by Monday.
This means NGCP can then get power supply from Cebu to Leyte and from its Ormoc-Maasin transmis-sion facilities; it can bring electricity to Bohol through the submarine cable to President Carlos P. Garcia that is received at the Ubay sub-station.
Chatto, who is in Canada for the Conbusac gathering stayed up since Thursday afternoon to contact Cusi, while Third District Rep. Arthur Yap and First District Rep. Rene Relampagos contacted the Energy Regulatory Com-mission.
The ERC then con-vened and gave go signal for the BDPP in Dampas to operate so the BLCI can implement power supply rationing. Angeline Valen-cia/PNA