Power-line obstruction bill gets Senate nod

A bill penalizing construction of structures, prohibiting planting of tall growing plants and erecting hazardous improvements along power line corridors was approved on third and final reading by the Senate.

Sen. Win Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on energy, said the enactment of the measure was brought about by experience in the past which showed that some hours-long power interruption were due to dangerous obstructions such as plants and tall structures.

Senate Bill No. 2098, otherwise known as the "Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act of 2018," seeks to ensure the continuous and uninterrupted transmission of electricity from power plants to consumers.

It introduces penalties to those breaching right-of-way (ROW) clearances around the power transmission lines and outlines the duties and responsibilities of power generation companies, distribution utilities and concerned owners and operators in the prevention and removal of any obstructions to the power lines, whether these be located on public and private property.

The power line corridor, as defined in SB 2098, refers to the land beneath, the air spaces surrounding and the area traversed by power lines including its horizontal, vertical and similar clearance requirements.

It shall, at all times, be kept clear and free from any power line obstructions, dangerous structures, hazardous activities and improvements and other similar circumstances, the senator said. Under the measure, those who will build obstructions and dangerous structures, plant tall growing plant, conduct hazardous activities within the power line corridors or which may impair the delivery of power supply or cause damage to power lines will be penalized.

In preventing or removing of power line obstructions, the owner or operator of the power lines may seek the assistance of the local government unit officials, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), as may be deemed necessary.

Violators of the bill may be punished with arresto mayor or imprisonment of one to six months or a fine of P50,000 or both at the discretion of the court for the first offense; prision correccional or imprisonment of six months to six years or a fine of P100,000 or both for the second offense; and prision mayor or six years to 12 years jail term or a fine of P200,000 for the third offense.

Source: Senate of the Philippines