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NGCP to carry out Bantayan submarine cable

THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is the implementer of the submarine cable that will connect Bantayan Island to the Cebu-Negros-Panay (CNP) Power Grid.

ERC Visayas Director Atty. Joel Bontuyan said NGCP officials told them that the project which was initiated by the late Rep. Benhur Salimbangon has been delayed because of Covid-19 pandemic.

On record, the power generation in Bantayan Island is very costly, but the people there, including government offices and the business sector are being subsidized by all power consumers in the country through their respective power bills.

This is the reason why Salimbangon, during his lifetime, tried to negotiate with the government to install a submarine cable to connect electricity to the CNP grid.

If this will be realized, all the power consumers in the country will not anymore subsidize the Bantayan Island people.

However, before Salimbangon died last December 24, 2020, he told DYRC radio that he was dismayed over NGCP’s delay in the implementation of this important project for no apparent reason.

Other than that, last August 16, 2021, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia called an online meeting with officials of ERC, all three mayors of Bantayan Island, Bantayan Electric Cooperative (Banelco), Island Network Electrification Corporation (INEC), the incoming Banelco supplier, and VIPCor, the outgoing supplier. Coincidentally, the owner of INEC is reportedly a Garcia.

Bontuyan said the interim power supply agreement between INEC and Banelco had expired last August 10, giving problem on how to draw power and collect fees.

ERC chair/CEO Agnes Devanadera urged Banelco and INEC to start the test and commissioning, and the ERC will wait and fast tract what ERC can contribute. Banelco and INEC were given instruction to immediately conduct testing and commissioning on new power plant to prevent power interruption. ELIAS O. BAQUERO