China no Wile E. Coyote with 'red button' to shut down PH power grid: NGCP

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 03 2019 11:38 AM | Updated as of Dec 03 2019 11:43 AM

MANILA -- Unlike Wile E. Coyote hunting Road Runner in the Looney Tunes cartoons, China doesn't have a red button to control the Philippines' power grid, the Filipino-Chinese consortium that operates the system said Tuesday.

Contrary to fears raised by some lawmakers, China cannot just shut down the grid, or the transmission lines between power plants and distribution utilities, National Grid Corp spokeswoman Cynthia Alabanza said.

The NGCP, 40-percent owned by the State Grid Corp of China, operates the grid. A Filipino government company, TransCo, owns the grid infrastructure.

"There is no proverbial Wile E. Coyote Acme red button that you can press to shut down the grid. You have to call at the very least, 200 substation managers and have them shut off several breakers in each of these substations one by one," Alabanza said.

"It is not one button and it is not remote. It has to be done manually," she told ANC's Headstart.

Alabanza said the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) or the system that controls the grid is stand alone and not connected to the Virtual Private Network or VPN.

However, VPN access may be granted to the supplier if there are repairs that needs to be done, but not to the system. Such access requires clearance, she said.

"There has to be a great level of security because this is a very critical facility," she said. "At no time will the main production system of the SCADA have access to the VPN."

Alabanza said allegations that China can remotely access and shut down the grid are "baseless".

The State Grid Corp of China is limited to being a "technical adviser," an NGCP statement earlier said. Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp and Calaca High Power Corp, both from the Philippines, hold the remaining 60 percent.