IGCC says its route for interconnection project is ‘more economically viable’

IGCC says its route for interconnection project is ‘more economically viable’

ILOILO Grain Complex Corp.’s (IGCC) proposed route would be “more economically viable” for the 138-kilovolt (kV) Panay-Guimaras Interconnection Project proposed by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), it said.

“IGCC believes that our company’s proposed route for the project is not only technically feasible but is also more economically viable (following a direct route) than the proposed NGCP route (which follows a less direct, longer route),” IGCC Spokesperson Wigberto “Toby” Tañada, Jr. said in a statement over the weekend.

“Under our proposed route, the existing 69kV line can share posts/structures and right of way since it can be ‘underbuilt’ under the proposed 138kV transmission line,” Mr. Tañada added.

Underbuilt lines are a more common practice in distribution systems in the country as well as transmission systems built by NGCP’s state owned predecessor, which is the National Transmission Corp., according to IGCC.

IGCC owns the property where two tower sites are set to be located. The NGCP said in a statement last week that this is “crucial as this 1.7-kilometer transmission line will connect the proposed Iloilo Substation to the Ingore Cable Terminal Station.”

The cable terminal station will serve as the connection point of the submarine cable to Guimaras Island.

NGCP said “any deviation in the established route may also affect adjacent towers and cause further delay to the completion of the project.”

On April 12, the Supreme Court granted IGCC’s Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Very Urgent Application for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or Writ of Injunction.

The grid operator said the TRO would stall the completion of the interconnection project, which is targeted to be completed by December next year.

Mr. Tañada however said the delay was on the part of the NGCP for its “failure to follow expropriation rules and secure permits from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).”

“Records will show that from the start it was NGCP that caused the delay of its own project. It did not secure the required ERC permit, failed to make a genuine just compensation offer to IGCC, and refused to consider cheaper and more practical right-of-way alternatives,” he said.

The permit being referred to by Mr. Tañada is the approval of the capital expenditure application filed by the NGCP in 2017, which is part of the fourth regulatory period covering the years 2016 to 2020 that has been delayed, according to ERC Chairperson Monalisa C. Dimalanta.

“This is part of our ongoing reset process, which we are targeting to complete soon,” Ms. Dimalanta said in a Viber message.

The ERC issued last month the preliminary results of its ongoing review of the performance and operations of the NGCP for the regulatory period 2016 to 2022.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tañada said the NGCP has not reached out to the IGCC for settlement. He said the parties “have submitted all their arguments and counterarguments to the Supreme Court.”

“The highest court of the land has spoken, and all parties need to respect and abide by the Supreme Court ruling,” Mr. Tañada said.

He said IGCC’s sister company La Filipina Uy Gongco Corp. “will not object” to the proposed alternative transmission line route, which traverses its property. — S.J. Talavera