By Myrna M. Velasco
Transmission firm National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is advancing on its P52- billion Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP) as it already broke ground last week on the installation of the linked power grids’ cable terminal stations.
The company announced that simultaneous groundbreaking activities had been scheduled both at the facility’s landing sites in Santander, Cebu for Visayas; and Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte for Mindanao.
It explained that “the cable terminal stations serve as the landing points of the two 92-kilometer submarine cables which will carry around 450 megawatts of power from the Visayas and Mindanao, and vice versa.”
Having gained headway into this component of the project’s installation, NGCP thus reinforced its commitment that it would be able to complete the project by year 2020, which is its pledged timeline to the government.
The company said “this is just the first in a long series of small achievements towards the successful completion of this project.”
Beyond the submarine cables, the entire chain of the facilities’ interconnection will also require the installation of 526 circuit-kilometers of overhead transmission lines, high voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations as well as various upgrades to substation in both islands.
NGCP previously estimated that at MVIP’s completion and commercial operations, this will slightly add up to the electricity bills of consumers given the scale of capital outlay forked out for the project.
But the company qualified the final amount of the pass-on cost impact to consumers will fully lean on the approval that will eventually be rendered by the Energy Regulatory Commission.
“Depending on the regulatory reset by 2020, consumers might also notice the immediate effects of the project on their electricity bills as its completion will result in a price increase of P0.03 per kWh,” NGCP has stipulated in earlier statement to the media.
The transmission firm has yet to enter its fourth regulatory reset under the performance-based rate (PBR) methodology on its tariff setting.
“While the final cost of the project has yet to be determined by the ERC, NGCP has filed the estimated cost of the project to be at P52 billion,” the company said.
The link-up of the Visayas and Mindanao power grids had long been planned, but it proved elusive for several decades. But once the project is concretized, it will realize the country’s wish of having a single, unified power grid.
“With One Grid 2020, we envision a strong, unified power transmission network that can meet the country’s future power needs,” NGCP has emphasized.
With an interconnected grid, NGCP opined that “power transmission services in the country will be more reliable as there will be less power interruptions nationwide due to the sharing of local energy resources,” that in turn could help boost investments, infrastructure development as well as commerce in the country.