Hontiveros: Give control of PH power grid back to gov’t

Published June 11, 2021, 5:45 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday said she supports the proposal to restore to the government control of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) saying this would allow better management of grid reserves and fix cyber-security issues in the power transmission sector.

“It is time to review our policies and empower government to make the necessary reforms since it appears that privatization has not solved our country’s energy woes at all,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

The senator made the statement after the Department of Energy (DOE) proposed to the Senate to amend the NGCP’s legislative franchise and revert back to government the system control of the country’s power grid during a Senate hearing.

Despite NGCP’s apparent “compliance problem,” she said the penalty provision of the existing governing law—the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) or RA 9136 –only allows the DOE to take no action apart from recommending to Congress to revoke NGCP’s franchise.

“We should not stand helplessly on the sidelines as NGCP repeatedly fails the Filipino people and does not deliver the services it is mandated to provide.,” she said.

“Government should be fully empowered to take over the system control of the power grid if the NGCP continues to ignore government policies and standards, especially in a time of crisis such as today,” the lawmaker added.

She also said restoring government control of the grid will facilitate a better review and upgrade of the cyber-security of the power grid.

“Let’s not forget that NGCP is 40 percent owned by a Chinese state-owned corporation. It will be harder for the country to protect our power grid from cyber attacks similar to those in the United States, when our power grid operator is partly owned by foreigners,” Hontiveros said.

She further said she will completely support any proposed legislation that will be introduced in the Senate amending the franchise of the NGCP, saying it is high-time the country’s energy needs are met since it continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and national elections are less than a year away.

“Now more than ever, Filipinos need steady and affordable power… We deserve better power services, so we should demand better power services for everyone,” she stressed.