NGCP files arbitration case vs PSALM, TransCo

By Alena Mae S. Flores – April 24, 2018 at 07:50 pm

National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, the private concessionaire of the country’s power grid, said Tuesday it filed an arbitration case against state-run National Transmission Corp. and Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.

NGCP filed the arbitration case with the International Chamber of Commerce in Singapore in February because of unresolved issues regarding the concession agreement with the government.

NGCP and TransCo first engaged in a dispute resolution in August 2017 to settle concerns over the grid operator’s concession agreement prior to the filing of the arbitration case.

NGCP officer-in-charge president Anthony Almeda did not comment on the issue now pending with the ICC.

TransCo president Melvin Matibag said the government agency would “defend the government’s claims” under the arbitration.

NGCP, which is run by tycoon Henry Sy’s Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp., Calaca High Power Corp. of businessman Robert Coyiuto Jr. and State Grid Corporation of China, holds the 25-year concession contract and the 50-year franchise to operate the power transmission network.

NGCP took over the operations of the power grid on Jan. 15, 2009 after submitting a winning bid of $3.95 billion in 2008.

TransCo oversees NGCP’s compliance with the concession agreement while the government still owns the transmission assets.

Matibag did not elaborate the unresolved issues. PSALM, the power asset privatization arm of the government, earlier declared as invalid the concession fee pre-payment P58.883 billion remitted by NGCP in July 2013.

PSALM, which manages the asset and liabilities of National Power Corp.,  sent a letter to NGCP dated Jan. 15 that the funds would instead be used to settle the concessionaire’s outstanding obligations with the government.

PSALM cited NGCP’s alleged outstanding arrears of P3.9 billion to TransCo, a case that was also under dispute.

PSALM said the the deferred payment amortization schedule prior to the July 15, 2013 remittance would apply, “such that, the maturities under the CA from January 2014 to January 2018 were settled using the P5.788 billion remittance of NGCP.”

Meanwhile, Almeda said NGCP would continue to pursue innovations to ensure the reliability and stability of the power grid.

“Economies in Southeast Asia continue to be more demanding as progress and development continually grow; with that, the need to constantly satisfy the requirement for sustainable, reliable, resilient, and efficient power services requires the innovation and non-stop operations of all our facilities and systems,” said Almeda.

Almeda said the company was also pursuing the P51.6-billion Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project, which aims to connect the Mindanao grid to the Visayas grid by the year 2020.

“The project will not only open up the market for both Visayas and Mindanao, but it will also be critical to the stability of power supply and transmission services nationwide. Ultimately, this will support and realize our vision for a unified national grid,” said Almeda.