NGCP ownership stirs debate

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    Massive investment. NGCP has set aside P463 billion in fresh capital for the modernization and expansion of the power grid in the next 10 years.
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    The Department of Energy (DOE) welcomes the “strong public attention” as well as the ensuing discussions on national security concerns surrounding the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) operations of the transmission systems with its technical partner, State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC).

    But DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the issue is not new as he assured the agency is in close coordination not only with the National Transmission Co. (TransCo) but with other government agencies, particularly the National Security Council, to ensure all crucial data, as well as potential measures to be undertaken are reported to the President accordingly.
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China spokesperson Geng Shuang refuted allegations China can remotely control the national grid power of the Philippines.

    “To my knowledge, the SGCC took part in the (Philippine transmission operations) project as a cooperation partner, providing safe, efficient and high-quality electricity services. The project is now operated, managed and maintained by the Philippine side, with the Chinese partner offering necessary technical support upon request. The allegation of China’s control over the Philippines’ power grid or threat to the country’s national security is completely groundless,” Geng said in a press conference on Wednesday.

    NGCP earlier allayed fears China might have the capability to remotely shut down the Philippines’ power infrastructure.

    “There is nothing to be alarmed about the stake by the SGCC in NGCP as its investment is limited only to being a technical adviser. … The management and the control of NGCP, including its systems operation, are exclusively exercised by Filipinos,” said Anthony Almeda, NGCP president and chief executive officer.

    SGCC has a 40 percent stake in NGCP with the controlling 60 percent owned by Filipino companies Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. and Calaca High Power Corp. with 30 percent shares each which provides SGCC with only three nominees who sit as members of the NGCP Board of Directors representing the company and proportionate to its capital shares.

    Almeda explained that the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), the system that controls the grid, is operated only by authorized Filipino technical experts of NGCP.

    Almeda also said the Systems Operation (SO) Datacenter is equipped with biometric access controls which allow only authorized NGCP personnel to enter apart from the SCADA workstations and servers that have been secured by firewalls and layers of authentication systems to block unauthorized access.

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