The Energy Development Corporation (EDC) was slapped with fines by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) after its Nasulo geothermal plant was found to have breached the mandated ‘forced outage limit’ prescribed for such technology in the electricity generation business.

In a disclosure to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company stated that it has been directed by the ERC to pay a fine of more than P1.022 million — for going beyond the allowable period on when its power plant’s capacity should have been available in the power system.

“The company intends to seek reconsideration of this decision and will abide by the final directive of the ERC,” the renewable energy firm said.

The imposition of penalties on forced outages of power plants had been in line with the ERC rules which sanction the allowable number of days when power plants had to be on unscheduled shutdown – that way, power interruptions or tight supply conditions in the grid can be avoided.

Under the ERC rules, the allowable ‘forced outage days’ for geothermal facilities had been pegged at 13.7 days; but the regulator logged ‘unplanned shutdowns’ for the Nasulo plant of EDC at 36.34 days.

Apart from EDC, the other GenCos earlier tagged by the ERC to be penalized are: CBK Power Company Limited for its Kalayaan hydropower facility; state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) for its recently divested 650-megawatt Malaya thermal power facility; SEM-Calaca Power Corporation for the Calaca coal plant; SN-Aboitiz Power-Benguet Inc. for its Ambuklao hydro plant; Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corporation (SLPGC) for SLPGC coal-fired facility; SPC Power Corporation for Panay diesel-fired plant; and TeaM Sual Corporation for its Sual coal-fired power facility.

The regulated ‘forced outage days’ of other power plant technologies as anchored on the ERC-mandated reliability indices had been set at: 16.8 days for coal-fired generating facilities; 14 days for diesel plants; 7.7 days for gas-fired fleets; and 6.8 days from hydro plants.

The simultaneous forced downtimes of the power plants during the summer months had been blamed for the double whammy of rotational blackouts and price spikes suffered by the consumers in that period.

The enforcement of ‘permissible outages’ was set forth by the ERC to ensure that power industry players will strive for reliable operations of their facilities.

On ERC’s probe of the power plant outages, the industry regulator emphasized that the common reasons provided by the GenCos had been the delayed or non-arrival of spare parts they needed for maintenance of their generating units; travel restrictions enforced on their foreign consultants; as well as the impeded movement of their people who are needed to carry out repair works at plant sites.

Source: Manila Bulletin (