A major project is being fast-tracked by the Energy department in line with a Palace order to facilitate deals deemed of national significance.
Speaking at the sidelines of a budget hearing at the Senate, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the department and several attached agencies were processing the venture using Executive Order 30 as the guidepost.
Cusi noted that it could be the Visayas-Mindanao interconnection project, a venture that is being contested by the privately-owned National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) and state-run National Transmission Corp. (Transco).
NGCP, which holds a franchise to operate the country’s transmission network, has been given provisional authority to undertake the project to connect the Visayas and Mindanao grids via Cebu and Zamboanga.
Transco wants to take over the project, questioning NGCP’s plans and claiming that customers will ultimately end up shouldering the cost.
EO 30, issued in June by Malacanang, created the Energy Investment Coordinating Council (EICC) in a bid to simplify the approval process for Energy Projects of National Significance (EPNS).
These cover generation or ancillary services, including those required to maintain and secure the power grid, and should have a minimum capital investment of at least P3.5 billion.
It should also have a capital investment of at least P3.5 billion, as well as contribute to economic development and create both economic and environmental impact.
Government agencies must act on applications within 30 days following the submission of requirements, otherwise the project will be deemed approved.