Energy Chief calls for ‘inspection’ of PH grid system

Energy Chief calls for ‘inspection’ of PH grid system
DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi (Photo courtesy of doe.gov.ph)

By Joann Villanueva

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has stressed the need for immediate assessment of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ (NGCP) system, saying it is not impossible now to run it remotely from everywhere.

There have been calls to check on NGCP’s system since 40 percent of the national grid is owned by State Grid Corporation of China, and the latter can easily decide to shut down the NGCP system if it decides to.

“In this digital age, anything and practically everything is possible remotely,” Cusi said in a briefing Monday.

Cusi said he wants the immediate auditing of NGCP’s system.

He explained the only way to address questions on whether China can really remotely shut down the Philippines’ power grid is for government experts to inspect NGCP and have the oversight function on its whole system.

Cusi said he called for the inspection of NGCP’s facilities upon his assumption into office in 2016 but NGCP officials have been refusing to heed this move.

He said the inspection is partly due to the need to check on how the grid operator uses fiber optics on its transmission facilities and how the government can tap this for the planned national broadband network.

The DOE is giving NGCP “the benefit of the doubt” since the State Grid of China also has operations in Australia, he added.

DOE spokesperson Felix Willam Fuentebella said allowing experts from the National Transmission Corporation (Transco) to check on NGCP’s system will not result in “blaming game” in the future.

He also underscored the importance to be proactive so the government can address weakness in the transmission system and future issues.

Fuentebella said the assessment will allow the government to “see where we are now and we are going in the future.”

(First published in PNA)

Leave a Reply