The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is expected to face another wave of scrutiny on its franchise from government allies of the Aboitiz group which has cornered the top energy posts in the Marcos administration.
A Babbler said NGCP, owned by Synergy Grid & Development Phils (SGP) of ultra bilyonaryos Big Boy Sy and Robert Coyiuto and State Grid Corp. of China, expects its franchise to be assailed especially with two former Aboitiz Power officials heading the Department of Energy (Raphael Perpetuo “Popo” M. Lotilla,) and Energy Regulatory Commission (Monalisa Carneo Dimalanta).
“I’ve heard the government has hinted of going after NGCP for playing favorites in granting grid access, and violation of cross-ownership prohibition and sufficiency of ancillary reserves,” said Babbler.
Babbler said this was nothing new to NGCP which went through six years of hell under then DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi (another Aboitiz Executive) who aggressively lobbied Congress to revisit the grid operator’s franchise for failing to provide ancillary services or backup energy supply.
But Babbler said the situation is more precarious for NGCP under President Bongbong Marcos who has close personal ties to the Aboitiz group compared to former President Rodrigo Duterte.
Lotilla met with NGCP officials last Friday to discuss his plan to conduct a review of key players in the industry. Babbler said while the meeting was cordial, NGCP was reportedly bracing for the worst.
On the same day, Dimalanta and the ERC issued a show cause order demanding an explanation from NGCP for failing to comply with DOE circulars on the contracting of ancillary services to ensure grid security and stability.
ERC said NGCP has 15 days to reply “why no administrative penalty should be imposed upon it on the possible violations cited.”
Babbler said the rising cost of electricity and recurring brownouts could either lead to arm-twisting of policies or provide the pretext for a rebidding of the NGCP franchise.