Senators want to revoke the franchise of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) after it fails to stabilize the transmission system in Western Visayas at the start of this year.

Committee on Energy chairperson Raffy Tulfo headed yesterday’s (Jan. 10) Senate hearing on the four-day power outage in Western Visayas, which incurred billions of pesos in economic losses.

The hearing was attended by members of the energy sector and government agencies.

The committee concluded that NGCP failed to provide ample measures, as a system operator, to prevent the total blackout in Panay despite knowing that the margin of supply and demand was fragile.

Both senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Tolentino agreed that lawmakers should revisit and scrutinize the NGCP franchise if they have lapses that could be a basis for their franchise revocation.

Meanwhile, Senator Win Gatchalian proposed to increase the penalty towards NGCP proportional to the economic losses of the area affected.

Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Sharon Garin would like to impose criminal liability on the officials of the NGCP and not just a mere penalty.

According to Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta, the power industry body could impose a penalty on NGCP for up to P50 million, which is based on the Energy Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA Law.

On the other hand, because there is no guarantee that the power blackout will not happen again, and while waiting for the completion of the Cebu-Negros-Panay transmission grid project, DOE recommended that there must be no preventive maintenance among power plants in Panay, the plants will utilize 80% only of their capacity and that energy players must fix their protocol on supply-demand balance.