THE National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said it invested about P300 billion in improving the power transmission system since taking it over in 2009.

In a statement, NGCP added that it paid $3.95 billion for the concession, formerly held by state-owned National Transmission Corp. (TransCo concession).

The NGCP issued the statement amid proposals to renationalize the power grid, with proponents of government control citing the private company’s unreliable services and delayed projects.

Between 2009 and 2022, the NGCP said it completed about 56 projects deemed vital to the energy industry, including about 3,729 circuit-kilometers worth of new transmission lines, 28 new substations with a combined capacity of 31,190 megavolt amperes (MVA) and about 4,091 MVA-reactive power capacitor and reactor installations.

In a Senate hearing on Wednesday, legislators questioned the NGCP’s high dividend payout amid alleged service shortcomings.

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian also urged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to penalize the company over long-delayed transmission projects.

“I strongly suggest that the commission (impose) fines and penalties (to) discipline NGCP. We are not seeing discipline because a lot of projects are delayed,” Mr. Gatchalian, vice-chairman of the Senate’s energy committee, said in a statement.

ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Monalisa C. Dimalanta said the Commission is currently conducting a review of complaints against and possible violations committed by NGCP.

“We are prepared to enforce the full force of the law as appropriate based on the findings,” Ms. Dimalanta said in a Viber message on Thursday.

At the Senate hearing, legislators were told that 66 transmission projects are currently delayed, not counting another six which are classified as energy 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,” Mr. Gatchalian said.

“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 uncompleted projects,” he said.

Separately, the NGCP has committed to fully energize the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project by the third quarter.

NGCP also said that it hopes to complete the Hermosa-San Jose 500-kilovolt transmission line project and the third stage of the Cebu-Negros-Panay backbone project within the year.

Apart from the pandemic, the NGCP has cited right of way issued and the delayed delivery of parts and equipment as main factors holding back the completion of many projects. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Gatchalian also urged the ERC to complete the reset process for transmission rates.

Ms. Dimalanta said the ERC hopes to issue its decision on the fourth regulatory rate reset by August.

“Our target is I think August for the issuance of the decision. Then as you know, we’re also doing the fifth,” she said. — Ashley Erika O. Jose