DOE mulls over sanctions for remiss Luzon power firms
THE DEPARTMENT of Energy (DOE) is looking at sanctions it could slap on power generation firms found violating the law and liable for the spate of outages that placed Luzon on red alert status on several occasions beginning last month.
In a radio interview over dzBB on Saturday, DOE spokesperson Pete Ilagan said Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi had directed agencies concerned to investigate the simultaneous outages of key facilities that reduced the power supply in Luzon by as much as 3,000 megawatts at least twice since July 29.
“This was the directive the energy secretary to investigate the reason behind the shutdown of power plants that were not under periodic maintenance… The DOE has also asked the Energy Regulatory Commission what penalties could be imposed on the power generation companies because the blackouts could have a significant dent on our economy,” Ilagan said in Filipino.
“Based on a report by the Philippine Statistics Office, the economy could lose some P3.3 billion for every hour that there is a power outage, that’s why we’re looking at possible violations of the gencos based on the Electric Power Industry and Reform Act,” Ilagan said.
He said the DOE had tapped the Institute Of Integrated Electrical Engineering and an association of mechanical engineers to conduct a technical audit of existing energy facilities. The audit will also cover power plants based in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Search for sources
Cusi likewise directed the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines to look for possible sources of capacity reserves that could be tapped should the outages in Luzon continue.
The ERC, for its part, said on Friday it had already required the power generation companies (gencos) to submit a detailed report on the causes of the forced outages within 24 hours.
“The ERC has been closely monitoring the situation and the market results as we complete data from the gencos. We have noted the price surges during the past few days and have also identified the plants that have gone on unscheduled outages,” ERC chair and chief executive officer Jose Vicente B. Salazar said in a statement.
“If this condition persists for some time, we will look into the bidding patterns of these power plants. Sanctions will also be imposed in case of the gencos’ non-compliance with our directive,” Salazar said.
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