Hontiveros: Is NGCP being rewarded with soaring profits for bad service?

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday said that it is "unacceptable" that privately-owned National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) continues to enjoy soaring profits despite its failure to maintain secured "brownout-free" operation of the grid, amid renewed power outages which have affected at least 1 million households in Luzon.

The senator, who is pushing for reforms in the power sector, said that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) should "leave no stone unturned" in its investigation of the recent decision of the NGCP to place the Luzon grid on yellow and red alerts - a move that led to rotating blackouts throughout the country.

"Ang laki-laki ng binabayaran ng konsyumer sa kuryente pero taon-taon na lang silang namomroblema sa paulit-ulit na brownout. Ang laki-laki ng kinikita ng NGCP pero puro sablay naman ang kanilang serbisyo. It is time for our regulatory agencies to really hold NGCP accountable for failing to keep its promise of improving its services to the public," she said.

Hontiveros noted that in previous Senate hearings, representatives of the NGCP committed to lawmakers that they will work on important reforms which will help address various problems that cause forced outages and rotating blackouts in the country.

"What happened to the firm contracts for ancillary services which should have been one of the several policy and programs that will provide solutions and further lessen the power supply issues and most importantly, their mandate to undertake major improvement of power lines? Anyare na, lip service lang ba ito?" Hontiveros said.

She then pointed out that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) allowed the NGCP to implement an interim maximum annual revenue of a whopping P51.471 billion in 2020. Hontiveros has also earlier revealed that NGCP shareholders were able to receive P187.8B worth of corporate dividends in just ten years of their 25-year contract of running the power grid system under the anomalous and controversial WACC of 15%.

"The higher revenue is supposed to help NGCP upgrade -- and modernize -- its transmission infrastructures -- that will make the national grid more stable and reliable. Bakit parang walang nangyayaring reporma maliban sa lalong pagyaman ng mga shareholder ng NGCP? In fact, NGCP has a total of 127 delayed transmission projects all over the country and only around 36 have been met within schedule. Obviously, aside from the problems coming from the generation sector supply capacities we also have a clear problem in our transmission courtesy of NGCP" she said.

"There should be an overall review of the power transmission development plan and implementation process as well as the system operation of the power grid. The EPIRA law must be amended to establish a power industry structure that is responsive to the needs of our people and not only providing profits for bad services," Hontiveros concluded.

Link: http://legacy.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2022/0916_hontiveros1.asp

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