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Delayed approvals blamed for transmission project delays

PRIVATELY owned National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has cited late issuance of regulatory approvals as one of the reasons for delayed transmission projects ahead of the power grid operator’s commitment to complete two vital projects this year.

Aside from right-of-way issues, prolonged permitting procedures are also causing delays in the completion of NGCP’s projects, which the company said is already beyond its control.

“Late issuance of regulatory approvals may also be a reason for implementation schedules outside of those proposed in the TDP (transmission development plan),” said Cynthia P. Alabanza, NGCP spokesperson, in a Viber message last week.

On Thursday, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) issued a show-cause order against the company over delays in 37 transmission projects.

In an order promulgated on June 14 and issued July 4, the ERC said NGCP failed to meet its proposed timelines to complete the projects and directed the system operator to explain within 15 days from receipt why no administrative penalty should be imposed on it.

The ERC also cited the TDP submitted by NGCP to the Department of Energy that indicated only an 8% increase in the transmission network since it took over the system from the government in 2009.

Ms. Alabanza said the TDP only provides a roadmap of transmission projects and that the company has fully committed to prioritizing operationally critical projects that have a real impact on the energy system.

She said currently, only two projects may be considered as having an urgent operational impact, “both of which are at varying levels of energization and are expected to be completed within the year.”

“The goal of NGCP, as a transmission service operator, is to provide stable bulk power delivery services with minimal impact to the consumer. The measure for the transmission grid operator’s ability to manage the power system is the ERC’s transmission performance indicators, implementation schedules notwithstanding. NGCP’s past performance shows that it has by far, successfully managed the transmission grid,” she said.

Ms. Alabanza said the NGCP will continue to pursue all of its projects while also expecting the government’s full support. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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