Virtual hearings on the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ application for provisional authority on the implementation of the submarine power cable project have been scheduled by the Energy Regulatory Commission starting this Aug. 16, 2022.
In a recent order, the ERC set the first virtual hearing on the application for approval of the Camarines Sur-Catanduanes Interconnection Project to determine its compliance with jurisdictional requirements and expository presentation.
A second hearing on ERC Case No. 2022-044 RC is set on Aug. 23 for the pre-trial conference and presentation of evidence.
According to the order, any interested stakeholder may submit its comments and/or clarifications at least one calendar day prior to the scheduled virtual hearing via e-mail at email@example.com, copy furnished the Legal Service through firstname.lastname@example.org.
All persons who have an interest in the subject matter of the instant case may become a party by filing with the Commission through the same e-mail, copy furnished the Legal Service, a verified Petition to Intervene at least five (5) days prior to the date of initial hearing.
The NGCP filed the application for the issuance of provisional authority on June 9, 2022, a month before the project’s main proponent, Congressman Hector Sanchez, lost his bid for reelection.
His successor, Cong. Eulogio Rodriguez, has publicly announced that the grid interconnection project initiated by his predecessor is not timely and that he prefers that the government push through with the Friendship Bridge proposed by former Gov. Araceli Wong.
According to the NGCP, the interconnection of integration of Catanduanes to the main grid in Luzon is one of its long-term goals as the country’s transmission operator.
It said it would enable the electricity consumers in the island through its distribution utility or directly as a contestable customer to have access to a more reliable and competitive generation sources in the Luzon Grid.
“The interconnection will support the load growth and power demand needed by the Catanduanes Island thereby pushing the socio-economic development through the government’s economic plans and programs for the island in the near and long term,” it stressed.
As indicated in the application, the project will involve the construction of 230kV overhead transmission lines from Naga City to Presentaction (70 km), 69kV overhead transmission lines from Presentation to Lagonoy (28 km), 69kV overhead transmission lines from Presentacion to Bitaogan (12 km), 69kV submarine cable from Bitaogan to Asgad in San Andres (23 km) and 69kV overhead transmission line from Asgad to San Andres substation (1 km).
The NGCP said the estimated cost of the proposed CCIP project is P9.5 billion with an implementation period of 48 months or two years.
It pointed out that the existing generating plants in Catanduanes cannot accommodate and keep up with the growing demand of electricity, a scenario that it also prevalent in other islands of the Philippines thereby stunting economic growth in these areas.
To address this, the implementation of a long-term solution for a reliable and competitive power supply must commence as early as possible, the corporation stated.
“Considering that NGCP needs 48 months to fully complete the CCIP, the implementation must commence immediately,” it added in justifying the prayer for issuance of provisional authority.
Among stakeholders and possible parties to the case are the local government units, the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) and Sunwest Water & Electricity Co. (SUWECO) which is now the lone power supplier of the island following the phase-out of the Catanduanes operations of the National Power Corporation.