THE National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has finally energized the Hermosa-San Jose 500-kiloVolt (kV) transmission line, an Energy Project of National Significance (EPNS) valued at P10.2 billion and is crucial to the Luzon grid.
“The Hermosa-San Jose 500kV project is a major component in our planned Luzon 500kV transmission backbone. Despite many challenges, our teams worked 24/7 to complete this facility. With the energization of the line comes the improved transmission from generation sources towards the load center Metro Manila and nearby provinces,” said NGCP in a statement on Sunday.
The 500kV Hermosa-San Jose line, which spans the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan, will strengthen transmission services and accommodate new bulk power generation from the Bataan area. It was energized at 7:22 a.m. of May 27.
Besides the new transmission line from Bulacan to Bataan, the project includes the construction of a new Hermosa 500kV Substation, which will enable better voltage regulation and power transfer from existing 230kV facilities in the area.
The project was provisionally approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) with a cost of P10.2 billion. However, the ERC has only allowed the partial recovery of P9 million or less than one percent of the actual project cost.
Given the urgent need to widen the transmission highway along the Bataan corridor, NGCP implemented the HSJ, setting aside for later, the issue on recovery approvals from the ERC. “Our priority has and will always be doing what is best for the public. Financial considerations can take a back seat and be threshed out later,” said Henry Sy Jr., major stockholder and the company’s former president and CEO. “We hope to correct the impression that the consumers are somehow shortchanged with how rates are computed. Our commitment has never wavered: we serve the public, and we work within the legal and regulatory framework of our concession and franchise,” Sy emphasized.
NGCP is slated to complete other critical projects in Visayas and Mindanao in the coming months.
“Our stakeholders can be assured that we will continue our grid improvement, expansion, and reinforcement initiatives to deliver quality and reliable transmission services,” said NGCP.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian earlier urged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to penalize the NGCP for delayed transmission projects that adversely impact the country’s electricity supply.
“I strongly suggest to the commission to enforce fines and penalties so we can impose discipline on NGCP. We are not seeing discipline because a lot of projects are delayed,” Gatchalian said, referring to the delayed projects of NGCP that include backbone projects.
At a recent public hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Energy, ERC Chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta disclosed that the completion of about 66 transmission projects is currently delayed, excluding 6 projects of national significance.
“The bottom line is that the projects are delayed and what are the penalties involved because we can’t just let this go. The reason why there is impunity is that there are no penalties imposed. The delayed projects are affecting the entire electric power industry and pose risks for the future of the country,” Gatchalian emphasized.
He also urged ERC to review the rate-setting methodology when it comes to NGCP’s transmission projects.
“Why are we allowing them to collect from consumers upon the commencement of the project without a defined timeline as to when they can continue to collect for a project? This leads to perverse incentives because if the project is delayed for 40 years, they can also collect for 40 years, lalo na’t delayed pa ang rate reset nila,” he said.