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ANAKALUSUGAN’S REYES TO HOUSE: PROBE ERC, NGCP

Anakalusugan Representative Ray Florence Reyes is set to file a resolution opening an investigation on the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for their complicity in the slow divestment of State-owned sub-transmission assets as prescribed in the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

The move is to ascertain why there are two separate institutions for the ownership and operation of the sub-transmission assets which resulted in its turtle-paced divestment leading to continued poor and sluggish power distribution to hospitals and households in the country.

During the hearing, Rep. Reyes questioned NGCP’s standing as an intervenor on the divestment of the assets, to which NGCP Assistant Vice President Redi Allan Remoroza responded that their participation is due to their responsibility to reclassify assets in accordance with ERC’s resolution.

“I’d like to make a manifestation for the committee to review pertinent ERC guidelines so that we can find solutions to address these roadblocks,” Rep. Reyes stated during last week’s hearing in the House of Representatives.

“We see no progress and NGCP may only be maintaining the assets in the minimum, which might not be compliant to any reliability standard. This could lead to lack of proper service to our constituents,” he added.

During the hearing, Rep. Reyes questioned NGCP’s standing as an intervenor in the divestment of the assets, to which NGCP Assistant Vice President Redi Allan Remoroza responded that their participation is due to their responsibility to reclassify assets in accordance with ERC’s resolution.

“We intervene because we are looking at cases where sub-transmission assets would have to be reclassified to the transmission which happens in the event of an entry of a new power plant to the 69 KV line. That is consistent with the ERC resolution on the asset classification,” Remozora answered.

According to the ERIRA Law, sub-transmission lines are solely used by load customers whereas, transmission lines serve multiple users. Rep. Reyes then contested the basis of the classification followed by NGCP and ERC.

“There is a disconnect and an overreach on how a transmission line is defined. So, if anybody wishes to put up a line from a distribution line, then NGCP will keep on having a reason to contest and therefore ERC will keep on bugging on cases which could have been resolved if ERC stuck to the definition.”

“The sub-transmission asset is determined by the voltage and not determined if there’s an introduction of a new source of power into the system. If that is the rationale, anybody could introduce their independent source of power so even distribution lines could be considered as transmission lines and serve their interest for profit,” Rep. Reyes stated.

“There is a disconnect and an overreach on how a transmission line is defined. So, if anybody wishes to put up a line from a distribution line, then NGCP will keep on having a reason to contest and therefore ERC will keep on bugging on cases which could have been resolved if ERC stuck to the definition,” Rep. Reyes added.          

Remozora then clarified that the new guidelines set by ERC has been used for the reclassification of the assets and insisted that it was stated in the law that the issuance will be followed.

Rep. Reyes first uncovered the slow-paced sale of distribution assets in the last committee hearing wherein it was confirmed that the National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO) owns the assets being operated by NGCP.

Section 8 of the EPIRA provides that no other entity beside TRANSCO will be allowed ownership or management participation in the sub-transmission entity.

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