At least eight (8) delinquent power generation companies (GenCos) will be meted with penalties in decisions targeted to be issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in the next two weeks – and that is on account of the power facilities’ violations on their allowable forced outages.

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In a Congressional hearing of the energy agencies’ budget, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera divulged that “we are done with about 8 GenCos that we have finalized the evaluation of the facts and we are now on the phase of computing the penalties.”

The ERC chief further emphasized “we’re expecting that we will be able to come out with the final resolution within the next two weeks.”

Devanadera has not formally named yet the eight GenCos that will soon be served with penalties on infractions over the regulator-prescribed allowance on forced outages of their generating facilities, but she qualified “this will be eight out of the 17 cases that we are resolving.”

She added “we are resolving the cases one by one, not in lump sum,” with the ERC chief stressing that “we have not stopped, except that we are also a little bit affected, in as much as many of us are on quarantine.”

The reported excessive unscheduled downtimes in power plants had caused the unwarranted rotational blackouts in the summer months; and had likewise triggered the despised hikes in the electric bills of consumers.

In questions raised by House Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Isagani Zarate, he impressed upon the ERC that they have observed similar GenCos being in these oft-repeated simultaneous unplanned outages of power plants that typically happen on summer months or during election year.

“We have established a pattern in the past months or in the past years that the same GenCos are involved in these simultaneous shutdown of power plants. So we will appreciate if we will be given a report immediately when that report will come out in the next two weeks,” the lawmaker said.

Devanadera noted that based on their evaluation, the explanations submitted by the GenCos mostly “dealt on the pandemic-related issues — like the inability of the technical people to come in, the delay in the spare parts and the lockdown.”

She reiterated that show cause orders (SCOs) had been issued to the concerned GenCos in June this year; following the occurrence of electricity service interruptions and the subsequent rate spikes that tormented Filipino consumers.

Earlier this year, the ERC had enforced the ‘reliability performance indices’ that capped the allowable forced outages across technologies in the power sector – and if the GenCos will not comply with it, then that can be classified as a ‘breach’ of the prescribed rules.

Given the enormous incidents of forced outages in electric generating facilities, that prompted the ERC to summon the power plant owners and operators “to explain their unplanned outages that breached the maximum allowable unplanned outage days per year.” ###

Source: Manila Bulletin (