THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has issued a show-cause order against the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to explain why it has not completed 37 transmission projects on time.
“NGCP has filed several applications for the approval of its capital expenditure (capex) projects for the purpose of expanding and improving the transmission facilities. Some of these projects have already been approved by the Commission … The commission has observed that the said timelines were not followed and NGCP’s implementation of its approved capex applications have been delayed,” said the ERC.
Of the 37 projects cited by the ERC, 26 are still incomplete and three are yet to commence. On the average, NGCP’s delays in the 37 projects are at 820 days, ranging from 21 to 2,561 days.
For instance, the Tuy-Dasmariñas 500 kiloVolt (kV) transmission line project was delayed for 2,528 days.
Other delayed transmission line projects cited in the ERC order include the Bataan—Cavite / Metro Manila transmission line (Phase1), which was delayed by 2,561 days; Cebu-Negros-Panay 230kV backbone project (stage1), delayed for 2,210 days; Tuguegarao-Lal-Lo 230kV, 2,022 days; Cebu-Negros Panay 230kV (stage2), at 2,115 days; Tacurong-Kalamansig 69kV, at 1,106 days; Manila-Navotas 230kV, at 1,249 days; Western Luzon 500kV backbone project, 1,589 days.
The grid operator was given 15 days to explain why it should not be penalized for the project delays.
“NGCP is hereby ordered to submit within 15 days from receipt hereof, its verified explanation and show cause why no administrative penalty should be imposed upon it for violation of Commission’s order and decisions issued pursuant to section 21 and 9 of EPIRA,” said the ERC.
NGCP’s explanation, added the ERC, should include the cause of the delay per project, as well as the actual timeline of implementation per project.
The ERC reminded NGCP that as the concessionaire contracted to operate the transmission assets owned by the National Transmission Company (TransCo), it bears the responsibility of improving, expanding, and maintaining the national grid.
Moreover, the NGCP is mandated under its franchise to enhance the grid’s capacity to efficiently transmit power from generating plants to directly connected consumers, public utilities and ultimately to ordinary electricity consumers.
The ERC also said that based on the Transmission Development Plans submitted by NGCP to the Department of Energy (DOE), the transmission grid only increased by 8 percent in terms of line expansion, from 19,425 circuit-kilometers in 2009 to 21,027 circuit-kilometers in 2022. During prepandemic years from 2011-2018, NGCP’s line expansion, on the average, was only at 1.05 percentprogress rate per year.
The ERC order was promulgated on June 14 and issued on July 4.
The NGCP has yet to comment as of press time.
Last May, NGCP assistant corporate secretary Atty. Ronald Concepcion said despite the company’s best efforts, delays in the completion of certain projects could not be avoided due to the pandemic.
He said construction works had to be temporarily suspended due to quarantine regulations. Even when restrictions were eased, NGCP could not fully resume work
The NGCP also said that the delays in the implementation of these projects “are not intentional.”
“It is not because we don’t want to finish them. There were many hurdles encountered, like right of way (ROW),” NGCP spokesperson Atty. Cynthia Alabanza earlier said.
NGCP holds the sole and exclusive concession and franchise for operating the Philippines’s transmission network.