Press Release
September 20, 2022

"First step toward accountability"
Hontiveros welcomes ERC show cause order vs NGCP

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday welcomed as a "first step toward accountability" the recent show cause order of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) requiring the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to explain its non-compliance with policies and programs meant to secure and stabilize of the nation's power grid.

"This is a welcome first step toward accountability for the NGCP's shabby and inadequate service of the power needs of Filipinos. Kailangang magpaliwanag ang NGCP kung bakit sa kabila ng bilyon-bilyon nilang kita ay kulang ang kanilang serbisyong binibigay bilang power grid operator," Hontiveros said.

The ERC on September 16, 2022 issued show cause orders, through ERC Case Nos. 129, 130 and 131 SC, to the NGCP for its failure to comply with the policies issued by the Department of Energy (DOE) in October 2021. The policies involved contracting of ancillary services, which the ERC said are services "necessary to support the transmission of capacity and energy from resources to loads while maintaining reliable operation of the grid."

"Bagamat nakakapagod humingi ng paliwanag sa paulit-ulit na problema, kailangan nating singilin ang accountability o pananagutan. If we do not demand accountability, industry players in the power sector will always view the government as their captive rather than a power to reckon with," Hontiveros said.

She then urged the ERC to issue show cause orders to generation companies that recently went simultaneously offline, leading to power outages across Luzon. "Kailangan ding magpaliwanag ang generation companies kung bakit para silang pitong magbabarkada na sabay-sabay nag-cutting classes noong September 12, 2022," said Hontiveros.

On a related matter, Hontiveros said that the ERC and DOE should investigate why the NGCP had to place the Luzon grid on red alert status after the outages by the seven generation companies, and why the NGCP seemingly failed to comply with previous DOE orders to secure firm ancillary service contracts and improve its transmission lines.

"I am also worried about, at the same time puzzled, by the situation that the Luzon grid with peak demand at 12,000 MW, continues to suffer inadequacy in supply despite sufficient dependable capacity of 23,410 MW from the total installed capacity of 26,250 MW of the national grid, according to DOE's Power Statistics for 2020," she added.

"Itong isyu sa contracting sa ancillary services ay isa lamang sa maraming isyu na dapat magpaliwanag ang NGCP sa publiko. I urge the ERC to expand and dig-deeper its investigation on the whole spectrum of issues and problems involving the NGCP and other power industry players - including a possible scenario in which distribution utilities are compelled to buy expensive power from WESM (Wholesale Electricity Spot Market) due to failures and inefficiencies in transmission and non-compliance with ancillary service requirements," Hontiveros stressed.

"Kung may kakulangan at kasalanan ang NGCP at iba pang power industry players, dapat sila ang managot at hindi ang publiko. During this time of crisis, consumers should not be forced to pay for the errors, negligence and abuses of energy companies and their officials," Hontiveros concluded.

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