NGCP sets remedies to project snags

Published March 14, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Myrna M. Velasco

Concessionaire firm National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has enforced suite of measures so it could thwart any prodigious impact that the snowballing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may have had on it employees and primarily on its operations, as delays in equipment deliveries will likely affect project completions.


In particular, NGCP said it is “assessing the impact of the global health concern on the implementation of projects across the country,” which shall include the ₱52-billion Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project.

This transmission link-up project is targeted for completion by the end of this year, but the Department of Energy (DOE) has already hinted that there might be some snags – including on the aspect of right-of-way clearing for some component of the installations, in addition to concerns of delays on equipment deliveries.

“The COVID outbreak has put an extended hold on the delivery of critical construction and transmission equipment from vendors and manufacturers in the affected countries,” NGCP has indicated.

The other projects being monitored closely by the firm are the 500-kilovolt Western Luzon backbone; 230kV Mindanao backbone; 230kV San Jose-Quezon transmission line and “various projects aimed at addressing low voltage in the three grids.”

Given such dilemma, the company said it already enforced contingency plans, including the use of existing NGCP equipment in stock “and resort to other suppliers not affected by COVID-19.”

By taking that remedy, the company said it may likely “mitigate further the impact of the disease on project deadlines and its overall effect on power transmission operations.”

At the level of its manpower, the company said it so far cancelled official travels of its employees and executives “to affected countries and non-essential large events.”

And for employees that will be sent on highly necessary travels, there shall also be protocols that they must follow once they return from overseas.

NGCP further instituted stricter procedures on entry of guests; and has also introduced alternative approaches in conducting meetings, such as video conferencing, Skype and other forms of online communication.

In parallel, the company is pursuing “regular sanitation of all workplaces, temperature checks prior to entry in its offices and providing alcohol/hand sanitizers in all facilities’ point of entry.”

Further, the transmission firm noted that “sanitation of frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, elevator buttons and light switches will be done every hour,” while those on other surfaces like walls, doors, floors and ceilings will be done after office hours.

“All work tools, including keyboards and telephones, meeting rooms, hallways and pantries will be cleaned and sanitized after office hours,” the company added.

NGCP similarly said it is evaluating the implementation of several additional measures, such as rescheduling of maintenance on facilities, isolation of entrance to control centers, substations and back-up control centers; as well as the provision of transportation, board and lodging for dispatchers and substation engineers.