Senators in disbelief over NGCP’s income: ‘We’ve been had’
MANILA, Philippines— Data from the country’s power grid operator confirmed senators’ earlier claim that most of its profits went to the pockets of its shareholders.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) explained that their profits are taken from “retained earnings which have accumulated over the years.”
At the resumption of the Senate committee on energy’s hearing on Wednesday, its chairman, Senator Raffy Tulfo, pursued his questions about NGCP’s financial statements, particularly between 2014 to 2019.
NGCP Assistant Corporate Secretary Ronald Dylan Concepcion reported that 2019 the firm earned P20.30 billion – P15 billion, divided among shareholders.
He pointed out that its capital outlay (CO) for that year was P39.36 billion.
Still, Tulfo noted that the P15 billion dividends represent 75 percent of NGCP’s net income, and only 25 percent would go for development projects.
Meanwhile, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros said the P15 billion income was 51 percent of the P39.36 billion CO, which she said is a “stunning rate of profit” by industry standards.
But Concepcion said that its revenues are capped since the NGCP is regulated.
“We can’t even go beyond what the ERC ( Energy Regulatory Commission) prescribes,” he pointed out.
Hontiveros then asked if that 51 percent income “as compared to the capital outlay” was within the regulated cap of the ERC, to which Concepcion answered yes.
“Stunning, amazing,” the senator said, adding there is really need to review the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (Epira).
For 2017, NGCP reported a net income of P20.6 billion and declared dividends of P19 billion.
Concepcion said P16 billion was for the capital outlay.
“Mapapa-sana all ka na lang,” Tulfo quipped after noting that the P19 billion that went to the shareholders was 99 percent of the company’s income.
(You’d just be prompted to say ‘sana all.’)
Even more surprising for the senator was the P24 billion payouts to investors in 2014, when its only declared income was P22 billion.
“Negative pa sa net income?” Tulfo asked.
(Net income was still negative?)
It was NGCP spokesperson Atty. Cynthia Alabanza, who answered the questions based on how it was also explained to her group.
“Our profits or dividends are taken from retained earnings which have accumulated over the years, so it’s not (a) one is to one po,” Alabanza said.
“Kung ano yung dine-clare for this year does not necessarily come solely from the profits earned for that particular year. So accumulated po yan over the years, so the number may or may not match,” she further said.
(Whatever was declared for this year does not solely come from the profits earned for that particular year. So that is accumulated over the years.)
Tulfo was not satisfied with the explanation.
“We’ve been had. We’ve been had. Naloko po ang taumbayan dito. Naloko yung ating pamahaalan,” he said, echoing Hontiveros’ statement that it is about time to review the Epira law.
(The public was fooled. Our government was fooled.)