NGCP ‘cleared’ to begin construction of P52-billion Visayas-Mindanao power line

Fire causes NGCP transmission tower to collapse

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has been given the go-signal to begin the construction of a long-delayed energy infrastructure that will connect the Visayas and Mindanao transmission grids following the recent deficiency of power supply in both areas.

As per Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) ruling, the grid operator has been granted provisional authority to start the building of the P51.7-billion Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project (VIMP), in which the NGCP has filed way back in April this year after its commissioned hydrographic survey in Cebu and Zamboanga.

“The provisional approval granted to NGCP to implement the Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project will enable power supply importations among the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao grids,” ERC OIC Alfredo J. Non said.

The two eastern areas, Cebu and Zamboanga, are expected to be the target locations of the interconnection project, which the NGCP found in its study to have overcome various obstacles including live ordinance (torpedoes and high explosive shells) from the Battle of Surigao in 1944, an underwater volcano, fault lines, and seismic hazards such as unstable rock slabs.

The government agency estimated the converter stations will be completed in 46 months or roughly four years. It has also chosen Sibonga, Cebu and Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur specifically to build the energy infrastructure.

“For instance, the deficiency of supply in Visayas may be supplied by importing power from Luzon or Mindanao.  Hence, this Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection will help address the insufficient power supply and will also help optimize the available power supply in the Philippine grid,” Non said.

However, the power regulator said the provisional authority is subject to certain conditions, including the proposed project’s optimization based on its actual use and/or implementation during the reset process for the next regulatory period.

NGCP is also required to conduct a competitive bidding for the purchase of construction materials and permit fees.

Meanwhile, government-run National Transmission Corp. (TransCo), which is in charge of the transmission assets in the country, will appeal a motion to the power regulator to reconsider its decision.

Earlier, TransCo has expressed interest to build the Visayas-Mindanao power line using the funds collected from the Malampaya asset “to ease the burden of consumers by not passing on the construction costs.”