MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian urged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to penalize the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) appropriately for delayed transmission projects that adversely impact the country’s electricity supply.
“I strongly suggest to the commission to enforce fines and penalties so we can impose discipline on NGCP. We are not seeing discipline because a lot of projects are delayed,” Gatchalian said, referring to the delayed projects of NGCP that include backbone projects.
At a recent public hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Energy, ERC Chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta disclosed that the completion of about 66 transmission projects is currently delayed, excluding 6 projects of national significance.
“The bottom line is that the projects are delayed and what are the penalties involved because we can’t just let this go. The reason why there is impunity is that there are no penalties imposed. The delayed projects are affecting the entire electric power industry and pose risks for the future of the country,” Gatchalian emphasized.
The lawmaker also urged ERC to review the rate-setting methodology when it comes to NGCP’s transmission projects.
“Why are we allowing them to collect from consumers upon the commencement of the project without a defined timeline as to when they can continue to collect for a project? This leads to perverse incentives because if the project is delayed for 40 years, they can also collect for 40 years, especially since their rate reset is still delayed,” he said.
Gatchalian also stressed that the ERC should aim to complete its rate reset of transmission rates as soon as possible as this could potentially benefit consumers through improved services and transparent rates.
“From where we stand, our consumers are greatly disadvantaged because we are not seeing the projects, we are not enjoying the benefits and yet they are mandated to pay for those unfinished projects,” he said.
During the same hearing, it was revealed that the NGCP consistently paid dividends to its shareholders from 2008 to 2022 ranging from P6.8 billion to P24 billion a year. (ai/mtvn)