NGCP confident of hurdling proposed audit of operations

THE National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said it is confident that a review of the power grid’s privatization will find that the company introduced many improvements to the transmission system.

“NGCP is fully cognizant that its franchise is a privilege granted to it by government. We remain ready to answer any and all questions raised concerning how we do business,” Cynthia P. Alabanza, spokesperson of NGCP.

She made the remarks after the Presidential Communications Office announced that Senator Rafael T. Tulfo had asked President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to reassess NGCP’s performance, opening the door to a possible renationalization.

Ms. Alabanza said that the NGCP will follow the legal process and will continue to comply with all lawful directives while pursuing the company’s mandate.

Mr. Tulfo, who is also the chairman of the Senate’s energy panel, has said that he specifically wants to look into NGCP ownership and assess possible threats to national security.

A consortium led by Henry Sy, Jr. and Robert Coyiuto, Jr. won a 25-year concession to run the power transmission network in December 2007. State Grid Corp. of China owns a 40% stake in NGCP.

“We are confident that the improvements we have introduced and the P300 billion we have invested in strengthening the transmission system will be recognized,” Ms. Alabanza said.

Since it took over the transmission system from the government in 2009, the grid operator has expanded the transmission network, the NGCP said.

The company described the government-run transmission system as “aging” when it took over.

“NGCP’s P300 billion grid expansion, reinforcement, and upgrading initiatives from 2009 to present, as well as those in the pipeline, are meticulously planned by our engineers and updated year after year with careful consideration for the needs of every single area in the country,” NGCP said.

Between 2009 and 2022, the company completed about 56 projects deemed vital to the energy sector.

“We continue to be hopeful that improvements in all three sectors of the power delivery system are in sync with each other, so that one sector is not made to be the sole or principal solution to challenges in the other sectors,” NGCP added, referring to the industry’s major segments of generation, transmission, and distribution.

“This is a system, and to make it robust, resilient and responsive to the needs of a fast-growing economy, the direction and coordination must be clear, equally implemented, and objectively pursued. Our stakeholders can be assured that we remain committed to improving and delivering reliable power transmission services,” it said.

The Department of Energy (DoE) said it plans to audit the NGCP’s performance following the tripping of transmission lines which raised red and yellow alerts over the Luzon power grid on May 8.  

The NGCP has said it welcomes the audit if it is carried out within the regulatory framework, adding that the company has been subjected to numerous audits.

Energy Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara said that the Energy department has met with the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), National Transmission Corp. (Transco), and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in anticipation of an NGCP review.

“Basically, we have virtually met. The group will consist of DoE, PSALM, Transco and ERC. We have a starting paper but we still have to discuss because we don’t [have] a special order from the Secretary forming us,” Ms. Guevara told reporters on the sidelines of an energy conference.

She said the performance audit will review NGCP’s Transmission Development Plan, among others. — Ashley Erika O. Jose