TransCo queries NGCP over alleged telecoms facilities

NATIONAL Transmission Corp. (TransCo) has asked privately-owned system operator National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) about the presence of alleged telecommunication facilities in the government’s power transmission assets, its top official said.

“I wrote a letter to NGCP asking them to explain why is it there are communication facilities which are installed in the transmission building without our permission,” said Melvin A. Matibag, TransCo president and chief executive officer, told reporters on the sidelines of a recent briefing on energy issues.

He said the letter was sent on March 28, although TransCo had yet to receive a reply before the Easter holidays.

He said TransCo’s technical personnel detected the communication facilities, the use of which his office has yet to determine. He added that TransCo was not certain about the scale of the non-power transmission assets.

“That can be used for broadband,” Mr. Matibag said when asked about his assessment of the supposed communication facilities.

“I’m not sure if the facilities are being built or have been built),” he said.

NGCP has congressional franchise to operate and maintain the country’s transmission facilities. It acquired that right after the passage of Republic Act 9136 in 2001 or the “Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001” (EPIRA). The law separated the various components of the energy sector, including power transmission, which was spun off to TransCo ahead of its turnover to the private sector through concession.

Unlike outright sale, the concession agreement allowed the government to keep ownership of the transmission assets through TransCo.

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