NGCP seeks ERC’s nod on higher capex

THE National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) seeks approval of the implementation of additional capital expenditures (capex) in the amount of P62.32 billion to be spent until 2020 for various transmission projects.

In a 12-page application filed before the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the grid operator said the amount covers 23 vital grid expansion and reliability projects, bulk of which will be in Luzon.

Of the total amount, 12 additional projects worth P33.271 billion are programmed for Luzon; seven for the Visayas at a cost of P15.7 billion; and five projects in Mindanao worth P13.35 billion. The most expensive project in Luzon is the development of the Tuy 500/230 kiloVolt (kV) substation (Stage 1), which will serve as the connection point of the 2×350-megawatt (MW) plant of Saint Raphael Power Generation Corp. and other future generation additions in the area. The project, estimated to cost P8,454.09 million, will have a 34-month implementation period.

Meanwhile, the Laray 230-kV substation project worth P5,029.49 million, is the most expensive in the Visayas, with project implementation set at 38 months. The San Francisco-Tandag 138-kV transmission line project is the most expensive in Mindanao. The estimated cost for the project is P4,198.64 million and the implementation period is 48 months.

The NGCP, which originally filed for approval of a P113.4-billion capex for 2017 to 2020, is required to seek prior approval from the ERC of any plan for expansion or improvement of its facilities in relation to its authority to construct, install, finance, improve, expand, rehabilitate and repair the nationwide transmission system and the grid. The four-year budget application is still pending with the commission. The capex for 2017, however, was approved at P5.5 billion.

Along with its responsibility for the planning, construction and centralized operation and maintenance of its high-voltage transmission facilities, it is indispensable for the NGCP to ensure a reliable and high-performance operation of the transmission system.

“Thus, to avoid disruption of operation and ensure continuous compliance with the NGCP’s mandate under the Epira  [Electric Power Industry Reform Act]as the transmission operator, it is imperative that the implementation of the proposed capex projects be immediately approved,” the grid operator said in its application.