THE National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has announced a delay in the full completion of its 500-kilovolt (kV) Hermosa-San Jose (HSJ) transmission line due to a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court.

In a statement on Monday, the grid operator said that the TRO, received on July 6 last year, was issued against the expropriation and construction on a portion of the transmission line owned by PHirst Park Homes, Inc. (PPHI).

“The HSJ was already energized on May 27, 2023, to accommodate power generation from Bataan. However, the court prohibition will affect the remaining works for its full completion,” the NGCP said.

The transmission line currently has a transfer capacity of 2,000 megawatts (MW), part of the full capacity of 8,000 MW of Lines 1 and 2. The rest of the capacity cannot be accomplished due to the work stoppage following the TRO, the company said.

Following the issuance of the TRO, the NGCP said it immediately stopped the project-related activities along Towers 170-178 of the HSJ transmission line, which it said delayed the ongoing stringing of the line’s remaining circuit.

The grid operator said it has “repeatedly reached out” to PPHI to “settle the issue amicably,” with ongoing negotiations “as early as February 2023.”

PPHI is a wholly owned subsidiary of the publicly listed Century Properties Group, Inc.

“NGCP made it clear to [PPHI] that the HSJ is an Energy Project of National Significance (EPNS), and its completion and energization are critical to preventing Luzon-wide power interruptions,” the system operator said.

“Still, we assert that the project’s activities can no longer be delayed given the greater national interest in the project’s immediate completion.”

Sought for comment, PPHI said that it “takes exception to any claims that it filed the petition to obstruct the implementation of NGCP’s project,” and that it has “refused to amicably settle” with the grid operator.

“PPHI acted in accordance with due process and full respect of the law,” it added.

“Considering the pending case with the Supreme Court, PPHI respectfully urges the parties to respect the legal process and refrain from commenting on the merits of the case. PPHI fully trusts that the Supreme Court shall resolve the case in due course,” the company said.

The P10.2-billion HSJ transmission line spans the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan, which is said to serve as a major component in the planned Luzon 500kV transmission backbone. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera