No less than full NGCP audit

NGCP had also blamed the pandemic for the delay in the projects, yet most have been idle even before the health emergency struck.


September 21, 2022

A half-truth is even more dangerous than a lie, which is an adage, if applied to the current friction over the need for a National Grid Corporation of the Philippines audit, that would mean that nothing substitutes for a full physical audit.

Previously, both the Department of Energy and the power grid owner National Transmission Corp. pushed for the Energy Regulatory Commission to engage NGCP for an audit.

TransCo even offered to provide the technical expertise for a full-scale system and operational assessment of the concessionaire.

The previous ERC leadership enabled NGCP to free itself from accountability by giving the excuse that they don’t have the people to conduct the audit despite TransCo’s willingness to perform it.

What the ERC did in the previous dispensation was a “virtual” audit, the result of which the regulator is even reluctant to make public.

ERC also conducted “virtual field inspections,” which are based entirely on what the NGCP provides the regulator.

NGCP blames the government’s failure to introduce new power plants for the supply situation, which remains critically low, particularly during the summer months.

The shortfall in the power supply can well be addressed if NGCP sticks to its commitments, such as ensuring the Cebu-Panay-Negros interconnection is perfectly working.

NGCP had blocked TransCo and the DoE from offering any assistance or a review of its procedures.

In TransCo’s records are at least 80 NGCP projects aimed at improving electricity supply but have encountered delays.

The Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project would have added 500 megawatts of excess electricity in the southern region to augment the grid.

NGCP had also blamed the pandemic for the delay in the projects, yet most have been idle even before the health emergency struck.

Another excuse often used was right-of-way difficulties, which should not have been a problem had the contractor been closely coordinating with government agencies.

NGCP, however, claimed to have acquired the right of eminent domain as a result of its contract, and has exploited it to acquire properties in excess of what it needed and place it under its name in the guise of RoW resolutions.

One of the properties expropriated was owned by the state pension fund Social Security System, which attracted the interest of the NGCP owners since it is near a sprawling mall.

The excuses of NGCP do not contribute in any way in improving electricity services.

Only by sticking to its obligations under the concession agreement can consumers expect to benefit from it.

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