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NGCP pleads for speedy court resolution of issues hounding Tuy-Dasmarinas project

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THE implementation of the Tuy-Dasmarinas 500-kiloVolt (kV) Transmission Line Project hit a major legal roadblock that may hamper the entry of new generation developments to the transmission system if not immediately resolved.

NGCP filed expropriation cases against E. M. Ramos and Sons, Inc. and several other defendants who claim interest over the properties affected by 16 of the 135 towers to be constructed for the project. NGCP, however, said the project might be delayed due to the recall of the Writ of Possession (WOP) in one of the expropriation cases.

The expropriation court already issued a WOP for three properties covering six tower sites as early as 2020. However, on 10 November 2023, the Court issued an order recalling the WOP and directing the relocation of one of the towers. NGCP immediately filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that ordering the relocation of public infrastructure for which an expropriation case has been filed is beyond the powers of an expropriation court absent a finding of fraud, bad faith, or abuse of discretion.

St. Francis Square Realty Corporation, another one of the respondents in the expropriation case, also filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration requesting the relocation of yet another tower. Both issues remain pending resolution by the expropriation court 5 months after.

“These setbacks encountered will most likely delay the completion of the Tuy-Dasmarinas project and will have an effect on transmission services. We are not only talking about the provinces of Cavite and Batangas, but the entire Luzon grid and the interconnected Visayas and Mindanao grids. More importantly, the project will enable the entry of big power generation from Batangas.

Any delay in the project’s implementation will also impede the entry of additional power supply from new power plants,” NGCP said.

Presently, NGCP’s Calaca substation is the only substation in the western part of Batangas through which over 2,000MW of power from the generating plants in the area are transmitted. This power is delivered to consumers primarily in South Luzon and Metro Manila through existing transmission facilities.

With the growing demand in Metro Manila and the development of Southern Luzon, Batangas has emerged as one of the generation hubs for large renewable energy plants such as solar and wind plants. As of November 2023, the DOE has estimated a total of 5,215.55MW in proposed generation capacity near Calaca. Some of these generation plants are already being constructed, while the others are still in the “indicative” stage and targeted for commissioning within the next 6 years.

“The expropriation cases were filed as early as 2019. The issuance of WOPs are both ministerial and summary in nature. It ought not to be the cause of delay for the implementation of a vital national infrastructure projects such as a transmission project,” NGCP said.

“The development of new substations and transmission facilities are essential to support the continuous power requirement of our fast growing economy. We have to remain ahead of the requirement of the system. Otherwise, we may face power interruptions to customers in parts of Metro Manila, North, and South Luzon. We hope for the expeditious settlement of these concerns lodged with the expropriation court so that we may complete the project soonest, and ensure the continued improvement of the country’s transmission system,” NGCP said.|

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