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Massive blackout affects 25m Mindanao residents
By Manolo B. Jara February 28, 2014
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MANILA: A massive power failure hit restive Mindanao at dawn on Thursday and caught by surprise many of the estimated 25 million residents who were preparing to go either for work and school or open their businesses.

More than five hours after the lights went out, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), the agency responsible for the nationwide distribution of power, admitted they have yet to determine the cause.

The blackout, the NGCP said, affected 12 key cities and provinces in Mindanao which has been experiencing annual power shortages because they depend mostly on hydroelectricity.

But the NGCP later announced that power has been restored in most of Mindanao at noon on Thursday especially in the key cities like Davao and Cagayan de Oro.

The NGCP announcement, however, was doubted by many residents who flooded local and Metro Manila-based radio stations with complaints that the lights again went out 30 minutes or an hour after power have been restored.

“Reports indicate that the Mindanao grid experienced a disturbance at 3:53am on Thursday. We are still determining the cause and extent of the disturbance,” the NGP earlier said in a statement.

This developed as Secretary Jericho Petilla of the Department of Energy also acknowledged that the exact cause of the massive power failure have not been traced.

“So far,” Petilla said, “there are no reports of damaged power plants. They are ready to come back online to the grid. We just have to turn them on one by one.”

He confirmed the NGCP announcement that power has been restored in about 70 percent of the affected areas.

Petilla also assured that steps have been taken prevent a repetition of the blackout that adversely affected the estimated 25 million Mindanao residents who represent a quarter of the total 100 million Filipinos.

One of those affected was Tek Ocampo, the GMA News correspondent, who disclosed that the power failure occurred while his father-in-law was confined in a government hospital in Davao City.

“He was connected to a ventilator and when the lights went out, we were forced to resort to manual pumping to operate the ventilator,” Ocampo told GMA News.

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