The Senate will look into the delayed projects of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) as well as the delay in its initial public offering (IPO), Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, said they want to look deeper into the causes of the delays in 33 important projects of the NGCP under its transmission development plan (TDP).
The TDP provides for continuous upgrading and expanding of transmission lines for an efficient flow of electricity in the whole country.
“A delay in the rollout of these transmission facilities will also delay a lot of the power plants.”
“A delay in the rollout of these transmission facilities will also delay a lot of the power plants that will go into the system,” the veteran legislator said.
“So even though we have a lot of the power plants going into the system, but if we don’t have enough capacity in the transmission lines or if the transmission lines will not be put up, then we will have a problem with the electricity shortage,” the seasoned lawmaker said.
The senator said the Senate will also look into the delayed IPO which NGCP was supposed to implement in January this year.
He pointed out that one of the important safeguards in the franchise granted to NGCP is the IPO, as it allows the public to participate in up to 20 percent equity of the company.
“The IPO would enable the government and the public to participate.”
“For me, the IPO would enable the government and the public to participate, and this participation would improve transparency. And this is what we need in the management and also the scrutiny of the NGCP,” Gatchalian said.
Besides looking into the causes of the delays in the TDP and the IPO, he said the Senate will also look into the possible penalties to be imposed on the NGCP, which may include the revocation of its franchise.
“Congress can revoke that franchise if the franchise has been violated. One of the violations now is the IPO. We will all talk about that during the hearing and if it warrants, then that should be the direction that should be pursued,” Gatchalian said.
Meanwhile, he urged NGCP to allow the government to inspect its facilities and its software, particularly the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system that can enable remote control and management of its facility.
“This will allay the fears of the public and this will also fulfill a very important safeguard in the concession agreement,” Gatchalian said.
He also urged the NGCP to pursue its much-awaited IPO, and for the government to take a stake in the company.
“Government should be able to regularly engage the decision-makers of the NGCP in so far as a national security concern, in so far as public issues are concerned,” Gatchalian said.
“The safeguards are already in place and we have to implement the safeguards, one of which is the IPO. What is important now is to implement all those safeguards because if we don’t implement them, everything will be futile,” he concluded.