Negros power watch group joins calls to revoke NGCP franchise

Negros power watch group joins calls to revoke NGCP franchise

Rep. Marcos: Congress needs to review NGCP franchise after blackout hit Panay Island

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines — The Power Watch Negros Advocates (PWNA) has joined the calls for Congress to revoke the franchise of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) following several power outages, including the three-day massive blackout on Panay and Guimaras Islands as well as parts of Negros Island last week.

The call was made just as Sen. Grace Poe, who heads the Senate public services committee tasked with deliberating the legislative franchises of public utilities, echoed the calls for a performance review of the corporation “to see if the NGCP is keeping up with its obligations under its franchise.”


“The recurring blackout in the Panay Island showed something needs fixing to ensure uninterrupted delivery of cheap, stable and accessible electricity to our people in Panay,” she said in a statement.


According to Poe, her panel would support the inquiry to be conducted on Wednesday by the Senate energy committee chaired by Sen. Raffy Tulfo.

Poe was among the senators who had filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the series of power outages that hit the provinces of Panay and Guimaras Islands last week and in April last year.

President Marcos and the Department of Energy both quickly pointed to the NGCP as the culprit behind the power outage. But the NGCP, the country’s sole grid operator, maintained that the unscheduled maintenance shutdowns of the two energy providers were to blame for the widespread power disruption.

Poe, however, stressed that “for a franchise as critical as the operation and management of power transmission lines, there should be no room for inefficiency, mismanagement or blunders.”

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of PWNA, said the NGCP’s franchise should be revoked as it failed to prevent the collapse of the power distribution system in Panay and Guimaras, leaving the two islands and part of Negros without electricity from Jan. 2 to Jan. 5. “Consumers, especially in Panay, suffered terrible inconvenience due to the inefficiency of NGCP,” he said.

Explain delays

Anakalusugan Rep. Ray Reyes, on the other hand, blamed project delays by the NGCP for the Panay-Guimaras blackout.


“For the longest time we have been calling out NGCP for the delays in its projects, some of which have reached decades without completion,” Reyes said in a statement Tuesday, ahead of Thursday’s inquiry set by the House of Representatives’ energy committee, chaired by Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco.

He claimed that the NGCP, “Instead of upgrading our system, prioritized massive dividends and lavish celebrations to their shareholders and directors.”

Reyes said the blackout could have been avoided if the NGCP had accomplished its Panay-Negros-Cebu interconnection project in time, whose completion date had been repeatedly moved from the original target of December 2020.

The lawmaker pointed out that it was very clear who was at fault for the blackout: “What we need right now is to hold those responsible accountable for the severe impact on people’s lives and economic activities.”

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The NGCP has brushed aside criticisms and accusations, saying it was only responsible for power transmission and not generation, which was under the purview of power producers, such as Panay Energy Development Corp. and Palm Concepcion Power Corp.

It expressed concern over the move of critics to jump to conclusions without factual basis and appealed for an “objective search for facts, discouraging the use of the company as a scapegoat.”

TAGS: National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, Negros Island power supply, Power Watch Negros Advocates

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