ANAKALUSUGAN PARTY-LIST SCORES NGCP OVER BROWNOUTS
“Why would you blame electricity consumers for their power woes when, by law, you should already have ready solutions for demand surges due to the summer season?”
This asked AnaKalusugan Party-list Rep. Ray Reyes regarding the red alert issued by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) over the Luzon Grid and the ensuing rotating service interruptions on Monday.
The NGCP declared the entirety of Luzon to be on red alert from 1:00PM to 4:00PM and 6:00PM to 8:00PM, while the yellow alert was from 4:00PM to 6:00PM, as five power plants had experienced forced outages and three others are running on derated capacities.
“Para na tayong sirang plaka, pero tag-ulan pa lamang ay hinahanapan na natin ng kontrata sa ancillary services ang NGCP,” said Reyes.
Ancillary services are back-up power supply agreements with power generation companies which are supposed to be contracted by NGCP to serve as alternative power supply sources in the event that regularly-contracted operators in the generation side of the energy industry stop operating due to overwhelming electricity demand, emergency breakdowns, and other unforeseen events adversely affecting their operation.
In March this year, NGCP blamed the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for its failure to process or approve the ancillary services contracts it applied for with other players in the generation sector of the industry.
As early as February, Reyes had already warned against the inaction of NGCP, urging them to secure the operation of the grid and guarantee unhampered power transmission service during the summer months where electricity demand goes beyond regular consumption levels.
“There is a surplus of generated electricity in Mindanao that we can harness to augment the fluctuating supply of power in Luzon and Visayas… NGCP continues in its failure to connect these regions as provided for by their Transmission Development Plan. Its delayed contracting of much-needed ancillary services makes the current situation worse,” the solon said in a statement posted on his social media pages in February this year.
“Maaga pa, sinabi na natin that ancillary services must be given attention with the then looming threat on the grid and its capacity to transmit electricity to electricity distributors and the consuming public, especially the health facilities,” he said.
According to Reyes, the surge in electricity demand during the summer months is not an unforeseen scenario, and could have been easily addressed had NGCP and ERC acted according to their mandates.
The legislative franchise of the NGCP was granted by Congress through Republic Act 9511 on December 1, 2008 while the ERC was created under RA 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 to regulate the entire electric power industry.
“Nasaan na ang ancillary service contracts ng NGCP? Nagdilim ang Western Visayas last week, dito sa Luzon dalawang araw na ang nakalipas. Hihintayin pa ba nating buong bansa ang mawalan ng kuryente?” added the solon.