Review NGCP’s ancillary service charges, ERC asked

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/13 July) – City Vice-Mayor Joseph Evangelista has urged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to review the ancillary service charges being collected by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) from the power firms in Mindanao.

The NGCP has started collecting ancillary service charges from its consumers, including the Cotabato Electric Cooperative (Cotelco) early this year when they bought power from two privately owned barges in Mindanao to respond to the power shortage reportedly caused by the recent drought.

The NGCP cited a provision in Republic Act 9136 or the Energy Power Industry Reform Act in getting ERC approval for the collection of such charges.

RA 9136 defines ancillary service charges as services necessary to support the transmission of capacity and energy from resources to loads while maintaining reliable operation of the transmission system in accordance with good utility practice.

But Evangelista described the charges as exorbitant.

During a forum held in Davao City on June 11, the City Council of Kidapawan submitted a resolution asking the NGCP to exempt Cotelco consumers from the ancillary service charges, as the province is host to two geothermal power plants.

The resolution, however, has fallen on deaf ears, he said.

“For more than a month, we have not heard anything from the NGCP on whether or not they approved or discarded our petition,” he said.

Last week, Evangelista visited the Mindanao regional office of the NGCP in Davao City to personally discuss the issue with its officials.

But instead of getting positive responses, the NGCP told him the ancillary service charges were just passed on to them by the Therma Marine Inc. (TMI), a subsidiary of the Aboitiz Power Corporation and owner of the 100-megawatt bunker fuel-fired generating facility in Compostela Valley and the 100-MW Power Barge 117 moored at Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.

“The Therma Marine Inc has signed up an ancillary services procurement agreement with the NGCP to support the operation of the plant, thus, it is but proper the ERC reviews such agreement. The charges are really excessive,” said Evangelista.

The city council has sought help from Cotabato 2nd district Rep. Nancy Catamco in investigating, in aid of legislation, the agreement entered into by the TMI and NGCP on the ancillary service charges.

Catamco has assured the council she would bring up the matter when the 15th Congress opens on July 26. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)