Nat'l Grid continues expansion despite PH-China rift

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2012 12:34 PM | Updated as of Nov 28 2012 08:34 PM

CEBU, Philippines - While the Philippines is still locked in a territorial dispute with China, the partly-Chinese owned National Grid Corporation of the Philippines is still expanding.

State Grid Corp. of China holds a 40% stake in the consortium, which includes the group of Henry Sy, Jr. and Roberto Coyuito's Calaca High Power, each with 30% control of NGCP.

"Like any investor, they are entitled to a seat at the board and provide direction... The company is very apolitical. We make sure we are complying with the laws," Atty. Cynthia Alabanza, NGCP spokesperson, said.

In September, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas called on China to turn over control and cascade technology transfer to Filipinos.

But in a recent facility visit for media hosted by NGCP, Filipino engineers, may coming from the old Napocor and National Transmission Corp., appeared to be in control of the country's electricity highway.

While the chief technical officer is Chinese coming from the China State Grid, majority of the officers working on the technical side are still Filipinos.

"The people on the ground are managers, also Filipinos, people who run it... The concession is designed in such a way that if there's a change in ownership, the operations on a day-to-day basis on the ground will be unimpeded and continue without interruption," Alabanza said.

For the current regulatory period which will last until 2015, the NGCP is spending P55 billion for rehabilitation and upgrading of transmission cables in order to maximize the delivery of electricity on all segments of the grid.

The consortium has obtained a 25-year concession agreement to manage the transmission lines with an option to extend for another 25 years once the first contract ends in 2034.