Accusation of China’s control over Philippines’ power grid ‘baseless’

Geng Shuang

China has dismissed fears that it can allegedly control the Philippines’ power grid, saying that the latter’s accusations were “baseless.”

Speaking at a news briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang dismissed fears that China is a threat to the Philippines’ power supply and that it has control over the national grid.

“The allegation of China’s control over the Philippines’ power grid or threat to the country’s national security is completely groundless,” he said.

“We hope certain individuals in the Philippines will look at cooperation with China in an open, objective and impartial manner,” he added.

Shuang emphasized that China’s control in the grid is limited only to providing technical support.

“To my knowledge, the State Grid Corp. of China (SGCC) took part in the TransCo (National Transmission Corp.) project as a cooperation partner, providing safe, efficient and high-quality electricity services,” Shuang said.

“The project is now operated, managed and maintained by the Philippine side, with the Chinese partner offering necessary technical support upon request,” he added.

TransCo owns the power grid, while the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) operates it. The NGCP is 40-percent owned by the State Grid Corp. of China (SGCC), along with its partners: Henry Sy Jr.’s Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. and Robert Coyiuto Jr.’s Calaca High Power Corp.

The NGCP is crucial to the Philippines’ power supply as it is the country’s only transmission service tasked to operate the country’s power grid where electricity flows from generating plants to distribution utilities, down to businesses and households.

Earlier, the Philippines’ Department of Energy (DoE) expressed support for a planned Senate inquiry on NGCP’s operations amid national security concerns raised by lawmakers.

The DoE said it would “actively take part” in the planned Senate inquiries to scrutinize issues.

“Given that there are aspects in the existing franchise agreement with the NGCP that seem inimical to the best interests of the national government, and more importantly, the Filipino people, both the DoE and TransCo continue to call for, and are fully supportive of the Senate’s interest to take a closer look at the administrative, operational, and procedural structures existing within the NGCP,” it said, adding that the move will allay fears over threats to the national security system.

Last week, a Social Weather Survey result showed that Filipinos’ trust in China slid to “bad” from “poor” previously.

The result was conducted from September 27 to 30, and found that 54 percent of Filipinos had “little trust” in China, while 21 percent said they had “much trust.”