National Grid exempt from paying ERC permit fees

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THE Court of Appeals (CA) has barred the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) from collecting permit fees from the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) for its projects.

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In a 16-page decision penned by Associate Justice Edwin Sorongon and concurred in by Associate Justices Rosmari Carandang and Marlene Gonzales-Sison, the CA’s Fifth Division granted a petition filed by NGCP that it be exempted from payment of the fees.

“The assailed decisions of the [ERC] dated April 12, 2010 and December 1, 2010 ordering the payment of permit fee[s]as well as the orders dated June 7, 2010 and February 21, 2011, which denied petitioner’s partial motion for reconsideration are hereby modified by declaring that petitioner [NGCP is] exempt from payment of the assailed permit fees,” the ruling, dated June 11, 2014, said.

The NGCP hooked up through an agreement with GNPower’s coal plant located in Mariveles, Bataan, with its transmission network to supply electricity to the grid project.

The ERC approved the same in its decision dated April 12, 2010, but it required NGCP to pay P6,890,618.89 million in permit fees.

The NGCP also sought ERC’s approval of its project with Cebu Energy Development Corp. (CEDC). The same was approved but it also required NGCP to pay permit fees worth P208,403.89.

It filed a plea but was denied until the case was brought before the appellate court.

The NGCP pointed out that based on Republic Act (RA) 9511, it is expressly exempted from payment of real property taxes on pieces of property used in connection with its franchise.

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