MEETING ON POWER. Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. convenes on Tuesday afternoon (May 2, 2023) the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council at the Casa Real and discussed the effects of the power outage and how the province can comply with the advisory of the Department of Energy in helping the Visayas grid. Defensor said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. wanted the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to immediately address the power crisis in Western Visayas. (Photo courtesy of Balita Halin sa Kapitolyo)

ILOILO CITY – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has ordered the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to immediately address the power problem in Western Visayas.

Marcos relayed the instructions through Energy Secretary Raphael Perpetuo Lotilla upon his arrival at Washington, D.C. in the United States Monday morning, according to Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., in an interview with the media on Tuesday.

“The President even in the United States in a state visit is giving personal attention to our problem here in Western Visayas,” said Defensor who was also apprised by Lotilla of the President's order.

The governor, in quoting Lotilla, said the President has given instructions for the NGCP to be transparent to stakeholders, local government units (LGUs), distribution utilities, power generators, DOE and the Energy Regulatory Commission should be updated on the status of the Visayas grid.

Marcos also wanted to synchronize the protection relay of the distribution, generation, and transmission to protect the system.

The NGCP has to fast-track the filing and approval of pending Ancillary Services Procurement Agreement (ASPA) that supports the transmission of power from generators to consumers, and always watch out for the entry of variables and other sources of energy into the grid so it will not be overwhelmed and stressed.

The most important, the governor said, was the instruction for the NGCP to complete phase 3 of the Cebu-Negros-Panay (CNP) backbone project, linking Negros and Cebu through a submarine cable.

The CNP project involves the construction of a 238-kilometer long circuit, 230 kiloVolt (kV) capacity transmission, which also includes the expansion of the Barotac Viejo substation, the E.B Magalona cable terminal station, and the Bacolod substation, as per the press statement from the Balita Halin sa Kapitolyo.

Defensor said he has no idea of the status of the project but as per information, its implementation is delayed.

While waiting for the response of the NGCP on the instructions, the governor convened the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Tuesday afternoon and discussed how the provincial government can help in the implementation of the instructions of the President.

They also tackled the strategies that will be executed by the provincial government in compliance with the DOE advisory to prevent the grid from getting stressed.

Meanwhile, three Ilonggo representatives on Tuesday submitted a resolution calling for a congressional inquiry in aid of legislation on the power outage.

Reps. Julienne L. Baronda, Raul C. Tupas, and Michael B. Gorriceta, in filing House Resolution number 933, said the incident caused discomfort and has affected the well-being, productivity and safety of Ilonggos.

They said that there is an urgent need to conduct an inquiry into the incident so an immediate solution to address the impending power crisis can be formulated, and for Congress to adopt the necessary legislative measures to prevent the same from happening again.

“The extreme heat attributed to the summer season has been exacerbated by the want of power supply which not only takes a toll on the economy of the region but also negatively impacts its image to visitors, local and foreign alike,” the resolution said.

The power outages hit the region, affecting mostly Panay and Guimaras islands, on April 27 and April 28.

The power was fully restored early morning of April 30. (PNA)