A PROJECT of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) is facing further delays posed by issues involving informal settlers along the path of its transmission line.
The project has suffered a two-year delay because of unresolved issues involving informal settlers, according to the power grid operator and transmission service provider.
Despite negotiations and repeated pleas the informal settlers in Quezon City, Caloocan City, Valenzuela City, and San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan refuse to allow NGCP linemen to enter the properties to conduct line and tower inspection, maintenance, and upgrading activities.
The NGCP claimed that it legally holds the right-of-way (ROW) near and around the San
Jose-Quezon 230-kiloVolt (kV) transmission line project.
But people unlawfully occupying and residing in areas along the high-voltage lines are making it difficult to implement the upgrade, it said.
The project, originally scheduled to be completed in 2013, aims to prevent possible transmission congestion by putting in place 19 kilometers of lines, power circuit breakers and associated equipment at NGCP’s San Jose and Quezon Substations.
This is part of measures to improve the system as the demand in Metro Manila continues to increase and the substations need to expand capacity.
San Jose is the main merging point of bulk electricity from northern Luzon.
NGCP identified 23 “workable” tower sites for the line project, but 67 sites were deemed “not workable” and troublesome because of stalled negotiations with the informal settlers.
Of the 67 sites, 10 are already the subject of expropriation cases filed by the company, while 57 are still undergoing negotiations for payment.
There are 1,022 houses and structures along the San Jose-Quezon line.
Of these, only 85 households have agreed to payment, and only 24 were relocated.
The rest are in various stages of validation, processing, and negotiations.
NGCP stressed that it cannot maintain, let alone upgrade, the line properly with this kind of resistance from the residents.
NGCP has repeatedly and continuously warned the residents that the breakdown of power transmission structures would result in the loss of bulk power supply to Metro Manila. But their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
“We enjoin the residents to see past their own interests and think of the common good.
This is not for NGCP’s benefit or for private gain. The right-of-way in question is for the benefit of a public facility, and the immediate and primary beneficiaries are the electricity consumers in Metro Manila,” NGCP said.
Electrocution, accidents, and line trippings or outages affecting electricity consumers are just some of the negative effects that may arise from the refusal of residents to respect NGCP’s recommended transmission line clearances.