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Senate panel considering NGCP franchise review in light of ongoing outages.

In light of the ongoing nationwide power disruptions, a congressman expressed interest on Monday in looking into the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ (NGCP) franchise renewal.

Senator Grace Poe stated in a statement that the disruptions shouldn’t be commonplace during the hot months.

In light of senators’ concerns about security, Poe added, “We must also exercise vigilance when it comes to our power lines to ensure that electricity running from Luzon to Mindanao remains under the control of Filipinos.”

“We will carefully examine the NGCP’s performance to determine whether it has adhered to the terms of its signed franchise or whether violations have occurred.”

Senator JV Ejercito emphasized in a radio interview that any utility affecting national security should be under government control. He has been pleading with the government to restore control of the NGCP.

According to Ejercito, the State Grid Corp. of China currently owns 40% of the NGCP, while Filipino businessmen, led by Henry Sy Jr., possess 60%.

Ejercito advised the government to consider options for repurchasing the shares that the Chinese government-owned business had purchased.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian disclosed that he just submitted Senate Resolution No. 607, which aims to launch an investigation into the numerous disruptions in the nation’s electricity transmission infrastructure.

According to Gatchalian, vice head of the Committee on Energy, transmission system disruptions result in losses for enterprises and annoyance for residents.

As the country’s transmission system operator, Gatchalian added that the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines “should be held accountable for the underlying causes of these disturbances.”

The senator recalled that on May 8, the NGCP reported red and yellow warnings in the Luzon grid due to a tripping of the Bolo-Masinloc 230kV Line 2. This caused 2 units of the Masinloc Coal electricity Plant to trip, which resulted in a 659 megawatt (MW) loss of electricity in the Luzon grid.

The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) reported power outages the next day due to a brief system imbalance brought on by an unexpected plant outage.

According to Meralco, the Duhat-Hermosa 290kV line trip, which resulted in an automatic load lowering of about 290 MW, triggered the power supply interruption.

Gatchalian also mentioned that the Visayas grid experienced a system disturbance on April 27 that resulted in a loss of 322.3 MW and power outages that lasted up to 12 hours in the islands of Panay, Guimaras, and Negros and affected over 1.5 million households. These outages continued through April 30.

Senator Risa Hontiveros stated during a news conference that she started an investigation into the NGCP during the 18th Congress and supports Gatchalian and Ejercito’s plans to repurchase the NGCP.

The NGCP is required to run and maintain the transmission system, grid, and associated infrastructure at all times in compliance with industry standards per Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9511.

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