NGCP must be held liable for widespread brownout in Luzon — Gatchalian
MANILA, Philippines — The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) should be held liable for the power line failure that triggered an unscheduled, widespread brownout across Luzon on Monday, said Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.
Gatchalian, who formerly headed the Senate energy committee, on Tuesday called it “reprehensible” that the grid status was elevated to red alert, resulting in hours-long power interruptions that “caused great inconvenience to many people and encumbered businesses from operating properly at a time when the country continues to experience high levels of the heat index.”
“The NGCP should be held accountable for the tripping of the Bolo-Masinloc 230-kilovolt Line 2, which resulted in the tripping of the Masinloc [Power Plant] Units 1 and 2, leading to the red and yellow alerts,” the senator said in a statement.
Gatchalian pressed for the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to extract accountability from the NGCP should they find the private power transmission operator at fault or remiss of its duties.
In March, Gatchalian expressed trust that the country would not experience red and yellow alerts this year. He noted that the NGCP had assured lawmakers that it had sufficient reserve energy to compensate for a seen drop in energy production and a spike in power consumption.
‘No valid excuse’
Gatchalian said the NGCP has “no valid excuse” for its failure to extensively audit its facilities considering the troubles in its system, which have already resulted in massive power outages in Panay and Negros Island.
“The NGCP should have been more proactive and forward-looking in the management of energy supply given previous incidents that should have prompted the company to anticipate and address possible power interruption,” he said.
Two resolutions were separately filed by Gatchalian and Senator Grace Poe, seeking a Senate inquiry into the power woes plaguing the two populous islands.
The senator further called on the DOE, NGCP, and power generation firms to coordinate when power plants riddled with forced outages can be restored to lessen the blow of power interruptions.
“Hindi katanggap-tanggap na patuloy na nagdudusa ang ating mga kababayan dahil sa kakulangan ng sapat na kuryente at ang kawalan ng paghahanda sa mga ganitong pangyayari. Kailangang panagutin ang mga ahensya na nagkulang at nagdulot ng perwisyo sa marami nating kababayan at mga negosyo,” he said.
(It is unacceptable that the public continues to suffer just because of a lack of power supply or failure to prepare for such incidents. We need to hold to account the agencies that had shortcomings here and caused troubles for our people and businesses.)
In the long run, Gatchalian said the DOE must ensure the full implementation of the Transmission Development Plan and the Energy Virtual One Stop Shop Law to immediately address the causes of power interruptions and improve the regulation and management of power projects in the country.
“In addition, the DOE can also implement the Grid Operating Grid Management Program to prepare for any planned outages of power-generating plants and transmission facilities,” he added.