Rodriguez brothers hail NGCP-TMI to Congress

By BenCyrus G. Ellorin

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Taking into account the drastic increase in the electricity of Mindanaoans despite poor power supply, two Cagayan de Oro Ciy-based members of the House of Representatives want the 15th Congress to look into the issue “in aid of legislation.”

Second district Rep. Rufus Rodriquez and Abante Mindanao party list Representative Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. filed House Resolution no.  40 last week, asking the House of Representatives, through the Committee on Energy to investigate the reason for the electricity price hike which it said, was 100 percent in April this year.

Among the things that the Rodriguez brothers want the House to look into is the provisional authority given by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to the National Grid and Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to collect Ancillary Charges from electric distribution utilities.

The provisional authority was for the NGCP to recover from the electric utilities the payment for ancillary services provided by the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. (TMI) for providing additional power to the Mindanao grid from their power barges in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte and Maco, Compostela Valley.

The NGCP and TMI have filed before the ERC the petition for approval of their Ancillary Service Procurement Agreement (Aspa).

A consumer group in Cagayan de Oro City had claimed that in April and May this year, the NGCP had collected about P650-million in ancillary fees in Mindanao alone.

Ancillary services is defined under the Electricity and Power industry Reform Act or Epira as “anything that is necessary to support transmission of capacity and energy from resources to loads in order to maintain power quality,reliability and security of the transmission system in accordance with good industry practice and the Philippine Grid Code.”

Power experts however are saying that the nature of the service provided by the TMI to the NGCP is not ancillary services as defined under the law but partakes of the nature of base load generation and no longer in the rightful jurisdiction of the NGCP which now holds the franchise to manage the country’s power transmission system.

Under the Epira Law, the power industry has been unbundled into three sectors, namely generation, transmission and distribution.

The Cagayan Electric, Power and Light Company (Cepalco) had intervened in the case expressing its opposition to the NGCP and TMI Aspa application. The consumer group Konsumanteng Kagay-anon, Inc. is also filing an opposition to the Aspa before the ERC.

House Resolution no. 40 particularly mentioned NGCP, TMI, Cepalco and Konsumanteng Kagay-anon to be given notice about the Congressional investigation.

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