Trees under transmission lines cause power outages?

Posted at 01/22/13 11:16 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has complained about the trees and vegetation planted under its transmission lines especially in Mindanao as these cause power outages.

"Trees and vegetation that grow or are planted inside or adjacent to NGCP's existing transmission line right-of-way are known to cause trippings or power outages when they breach prescribed safety clearances for high-voltage power lines," the operator of the state-owned grid said in a statement.

NGCP said this is currently the case in Mindanao, specifically in the Balo-i area, wherein residents are even uncooperative in efforts to remove the said trees under the transmission lines.

"Clearing of trees and vegetation under the 138-kiloVolt transmission lines emanating from NGCP's Balo-i Substation has become difficult because of uncooperative landowners," Cynthia P. Alabanza, NGCP spokesperson, said in the statement.

"For January 2013 alone, the Balo-i-Agus 2 138-kV line already tripped seven times because of trees deliberately planted by unscrupulous landowners beneath the lines," she continued.

NGCP stressed the Balo-i Substation is crucial to the entire Mindanao grid as bulk of the power generated from the Angus Complex enters through the said substation.

Alabanza also noted safety hazards for those violating the transmission lines' right of way.

"You don't even have to touch the lines to be electrocuted. Electricity induction may occur once the safe clearance is breached. In other words, if you get near enough, even without touching the lines, you are in danger of being electrocuted," she said.

Planting trees, putting up structures or even kite-flying under or near the transmission lines can cause power outages, damage the lines and endanger the public in general, the NGCP said.