Marcos tells NGCP in Sona to speed up projects
MANILA, Philippines — The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) is once again in hot water after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called on the concessionaire to fast-track the completion of its long-delayed transmission line projects in his second State of the Nation address (Sona) on Monday.
Marcos cited data from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in saying that 68 grid connection projects were delayed and reiterated that a review of NGCP’s performance was ongoing.
For its part, the NGCP vowed in a statement to “focus all the resources at its disposal to complete all existing transmission projects and expedite others in the pipeline.”
The NGCP has been blaming right-of-way issues and long permitting processes within local governments as among the main causes of delays in the completion of crucial transmission projects.
“We continue to call on all [local governments] to provide the necessary support with the expeditious approval of all relevant permits and assistance with issues on right of way, which continue to hinder the seamless implementation of these projects,” it said.
Last month, the ERC ordered NGCP to explain delays in 37 transmission projects, with some already 2,000 days past their original completion date, or risk paying penalties for violating the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.
These include the P52-billion Mindanao-Visayas interconnection project and the Cebu-Negros-Panay 230-kilovolt backbone project, both of which were partially energized this year.
The NGCP earned the ire of lawmakers in May after at least 300,000 households in the Luzon grid were plunged into darkness due to transmission line issues.
The company has since boasted of investing more than P300 billion for the improvement of the state-owned power grid since winning the contract for its operations and management in 2009.
While the NGCP had admitted to delays in the completion of transmission projects that could have prevented the widespread blackouts, it pointed out that it was able to energize a number of projects this year.