by Alena Mae S. Flores – January 17, 2016 at 11:35 pm
from Manila Standard
The Energy Department renewed its call on Congress to declare critical energy projects of national significance in the wake of right-of-way issues hounding transmission lines in Mindanao.
Energy director Jesus Tamang told reporters the passage of such a law would be a boost to the country’s energy supply security efforts.
Tamang said the proposed law would benefit transmission and other energy projects and avoid land reclassification and zoning cases similar to what happened in the Pandacan depot.
Oil companies were forced to leave Pandacan last year after the Supreme Court upheld the City of Manila’s decision ordering the removal of the Pandacan depot on safety concerns.
“Under this proposed law, if an energy facility is cited as projects of national significance, it can no longer be removed,” the energy official said.
He said the issuance of an executive order to implement the policy was not enough.
“If it’s an EO, they will just issue a project certification. We have to show other government units [that] the law is above them,” Tamang said.
AC Energy Holdings chief executive officer John Eric Francia welcomed the passage of legislations that would ensure the construction of energy project and help resolve right-of-way issues.
“RoW is always an issue, not only transmission but also new and existing plants. We’ve got to revisit the policy to address these. Government [must] update the laws to make sure that right-of-way acquisition is more expedient,” Francia said.
National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, meanwhile, said it completed the repair of tower 63 but but has not gained access to tower 25 bombed in December 25 last year.
National Grid completed the repair of bombed tower 63 along the Kabacan-Sultan Kudarat 138 kV line on Saturday. Lawless elements bombed the tower on January 14.
“Repair fortunately proceeded unhindered as NGCP encountered no resistance from landowners. Tower 25 in Ramain, Lanao del Norte, which was bombed last December 25. 2015, still remains unrepaired as NGCP awaits resolution of the RoW issues between landowner Sambitori and government-owned National Transmission Corp.,” it said.
The landowner denied access, demanding demanded payment from TransCo for their decades-old claim.
National Grid is spending P8 billion in 2016 to improve, expand, rehabilitate and repair the nationwide transmission system and the power grid.
National Grid said the budget was needed to avoid disruption of operation and complay with its mandate under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 as the country’s transmission operator.
NGCP plans to spend the amount to finance the upgrade of the Tiwi and Naga substations, Clark-Mabiga 69 kV transmission line, Bataan 230 KV grid reinforcement, Hermosa-San Jose 500 KV transmission line, maintenance of equipment, revenue metering expansion and maintenance, telecommunications and SCADA maintenance and expansion, corporate and security infrastructure and assets for acquisition.