Bohol braces for 15-hour blackout on December 2

BOHOL, Philippines – Power will be cut off for most of the day in this tourist destination province on Saturday, December 2, due to a scheduled facility maintenance to be undertaken by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

The blackout will affect 47 towns and the capital city of Tagbilaran starting at 4 am, according to Betty Martinez, NGCP spokesperson for Central Visayas. 

Martinez said power is expected to return after 15 hours, or at 7 pm, after NGCP would have completed its maintenance work on the 138kV Leyte-Bohol submarine cable line.

An advisory said NGCP would also shut down its inland 69kV lines for maintenance and equipment installation works.

Power consumers of this province of 1.3 million people have been advised to store up water as the blackout will trigger water service interruptions as well.

Boholanos, served by 3 utility distributors – BOHECO 1 and 2 and Bohol Light Company – are also advised to unplug home appliances to avoid damage caused by sudden power surge when supply returns.

The impact of Saturday's prolonged blackout, one of the handful this year, however, will be abated by a decades-old, diesel-powered generator plant based in Tagbilaran City. It can supply at least 12 megawatts. 

A recently-installed power barge in Ubay town, meanwhile, is also capable of producing at least 20 megawatts, Bohol officials said.

The combined output from the two sources and the 3 mini-hydropower plants here falls short of the 70-megawatt total daily power usage of the province. During peak load, the consumption is pegged at 80 megawatts.

For years Bohol has been dependent on power supplied via the Leyte-Bohol submarine cable line. Such dependence has proved scary and volatile for Boholanos after the province plunged into weeks of darkness following the devastating Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013 and the powerful earthquake that hit Leyte in July 2017.

In a press briefing on Friday, December 1, Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto and other provincial officials assured residents and business investors of an inland-generated power expected to be available by 2022.

The provincial government's Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group, composed of top minds from the power industry sector, has been working toward building a stable power supply for Bohol. –