National Grid Corp. of the Philippines said Thursday the completion of the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project is facing delays beyond the December target following the damage sustained by portions of the submarine fiber optic cable connection.
“This is an unfortunate circumstance which may delay the MVIP timeline. NGCP is working on a catch-up plan given the fragility of handling fiber optic submarine cables,” NGCP said in a statement.
It said the submarine cable 1 portion of the MVIP’s Dapitan-Santander 350-kV high voltage direct current line between Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte and Santander, Cebu, which was completed on Nov. 15 last year, was found to have been damaged in several locations.
It said initial reports showed a vessel navigating the area where the first cable was laid a month after the completion of the cable laying activity.
It was discovered that while the second cable was being laid. An investigation is underway to determine whether the vessel caused the damage and who may be responsible for the vessel.
NGCP said repair of the severed portions would require another round of procurement, awarding, scheduling of cable laying, all of which were also affected by quarantine restrictions in terms of cable shipping and availability of foreign experts.
The actual cable laying is also subject to weather and tide conditions.
The MVIP, certified as an energy project of national significance in 2018, was initially targeted for completion by December 2020, but was extended to December 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine restrictions across the country.
The project will connect the Visayas and Mindanao grids through a high voltage direct current system with a 450-megawatt initial capacity upon completion.
The project covers 184 circuit kilometers of submarine cables and 526 ckm of overhead wires connecting Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte to Santander, Cebu.
NGCP said it continues to invest in transmission network projects to ensure the stability, reliability and security of the country’s transmission highway.
It applied for approval of several transmission projects with the Energy Regulatory Commission covering the period 2020 to 2025 and beyond with total projects cost reaching about P262 billion.
NGCP is a Filipino-led, privately owned company in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s electricity transmission grid, led by majority shareholders—vice chairman of the board Henry Sy Jr. and co-vice chairman Robert Coyiuto Jr.