NGCP allays fears on Chinese partner

By Iris Gonzalez, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 02 2014 07:40 AM | Updated as of Apr 02 2014 03:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the country’s power grid operator, has allayed fears its technical partner, State Grid Corp. of China, would try to shut down the power transmission network amid the ongoing geopolitical tension between the Philippines and China.

“At the end of the day, it’s a business,” NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza said in a telephone interview yesterday, adding it’s business as usual between NGCP and State Grid despite Manila’s move to ask a United Nations arbitral tribunal to declare Beijing’s territorial claims as a violation of international law.

State Grid owns a 40 percent stake in NGCP while 60 percent is owned by Filipinos headed by businessman Henry Sy Jr.

Alabanza stressed that NGCP and State Grid’s business relations are not affected by the ongoing territorial row.

In a television interview with ANC, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, a former energy secretary, said there are mechanisms in place in case China tries to shut down the country’s power grid.

“Even when I was still secretary of energy, I was already aware of that problem. There are safety features to protect our interest. If they put it off, we can put it back on. China only owns 40 percent, the 60 percent is owned by Filipinos and Filipinos are very supportive of Philippine sovereignty over certain issues,” he said.

In China, last week, State Grid organized a technical visit to its facilities in Shanghai and Xi’an for NGCP officials and members of the Philippine press.

State Grid also earlier sent its specialists to the Philippines to share the latest in the fields of transmission grid planning and design, smart grid technology, renewable energy integration, calamity management, and grid operations.