Energy officials received a mouthful from Sen. Win Gatchalian for what he noted as unwarranted delays in the construction of new power plants and entry of new players in the renewable energy (RE) sector.
Gatchalian gave officials from the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for their inaction in the approval of applications for construction of power plants.
The said unnecessary setbacks extended the time for NGCP on the conduct of grid impact study (GIS), a prerequisite for power firms before they could undertake construction of new power plants.
“I find that unacceptable. There is a problem with the approval process and NGCP has to solve it. How can we lure investors and promote RE and other sources of power to come in when there are unnecessary delays in the approval process?” the senator said as he reprimanded energy officials during the organizational meeting of the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC).
Gatchalian is the chairman of the Senate energy committee and co-chair of JCPC, the legislative organ which oversees the implementation of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (Epira).
Gatchalian rejected the NGCP’s alibi that the slowdown was due to the deluge of applications from RE developers and directed the corporation to submit to the JCPC a list of all pending applications and a timetable on how soon these would be approved.
“It is within the powers of the ERC to sanction and penalize NGCP for these delays. The lag in the approval process is affecting the supply of power here in our country and the ERC, the regulator of the energy industry, is not doing anything about it,” Gatchalian said.
Even ERC chairman Jose Vicente Salazar was not spared from being scolded by Gatchalian for his failure to take action against NGCP over the unwarranted delays.
“I want you to take a look into this issue. You are not exercising your powers and authority. You have to be more aggressive,” the senator said.