September 20, 2016
from Business Mirror
THE National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) strongly urged the 17th Congress to pass the Anti-Power Line Disturbance Act, which will criminalize the planting of trees and construction of any structure within the right-of-way (ROW) clearances of power lines across the country.
“We are appealing for the support of our Congress [House and Senate Committees on Energy] by refiling the bill and pushing for its fast enactment into law,” NGCP said.
The bill was originally proposed in the 16th Congress at the House Representatives. The grid operator aims to get the support of the present House Committee on Energy, chaired by Rep. Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque and the Senate Committee on Energy, led by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, in pushing for the enactment of the said bill.
The “Act prohibiting the planting of plants and trees, and the construction of any structure under or within the right-of-way clearance of all power transmission and distribution lines and providing penalties for violation thereof” will authorize private grid-operator NGCP, distribution utilities and electric cooperatives to immediately cut or prune trees, and remove any obstruction to power lines.
When enacted, the law is expected to eliminate substantial delays in NGCP’s project construction and regular maintenance activities, particularly with uncooperative landowners and claimants who maliciously plant trees and build structures within the ROW clearance, and demand exorbitant amounts before allowing NGCP access to the property.
“Support in the form of legislation will ultimately be for the benefit of power consumers. The issue on settling ROW cases has delayed both current and new projects of NGCP. It is also a recurring and worsening issue, especially in Mindanao and North Luzon,” NGCP said.
“With the Act, we can expedite the process and improve our turnaround time. The sooner we can complete our projects and maintain our lines, the sooner we can provide secure and reliable power-transmission services to the people,” NGCP added. NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s power grid.
It transmits high-voltage electricity through “power superhighways” that include the interconnected system of transmission lines, towers, substations and related assets. The consortium, which holds the 25-year concession contract to operate the country’s power-transmission network, is comprised of Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp., led by Henry Sy Jr.; Calaca High Power Corp., led by Robert Coyiuto Jr.; and the State Grid Corp. of China as technical partner.