A subsidiary-company of SN Aboitiz Power Inc. (SNAP) has filed a motion for reconsideration on the fines imposed by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on alleged ‘forced outage breach’ of its Ambuklao-Binga hydro power plant in Benguet.

SNAP- Benguet said the regulator-enforced administrative penalty had been anchored on the hydro facility’s purported forced outages that had gone beyond the ‘reliability indices’ for power plant operations as set by the ERC for year 2021.

The company stated it was fined with P875,000; and it paid the amount with the ERC on November 8 this year, although it also filed its plea for reconsideration on the regulatory body’s ruling.

Atty Mike Hosillos, vice president for Corporate Affairs of SNAP-Benguet, said “the validity of the penalty, including some factual findings of the ERC, are part of the issues raised by SNAP-Benguet in our effort to seek a reconsideration of the ruling by the Honorable Commission.”

The company expounded that its Ambuklao hydroelectric generating facility in particular “did not breach the maximum unplanned outage days allowed by the ERC.”

SNAP-Benguet stipulated that in the official correspondence it sent to the ERC last May, it explained that the firm “made revisions from its original three-year grid operating and maintenance program (GOMP) in anticipation of changes in the availability of inflow/water.” In that way, the company noted that the plant would be available “when it can produce energy.”

The power firm specified that it also needed to carry out “replacement of critical mechanical parts to prevent further outage and damage to the units.”

SNAP-Benguet narrated it had in fact “completed its maintenance schedule for the three units on May 4, 2021,” and that was just prior to the rotational blackouts that tormented Luzon grid within May-June this year.

The hydro firm further claimed that its total unplanned outage days on record just hit 6.41 days, and that’s still within the 6.8 days of allowable ‘forced outage cap’ for hydro facilities as prescribed under ERC Resolution No. 10, series of 2020.

SNAP-Benguet similarly conveyed that the scale of unplanned outages had been updated eventually to 5.39 days – that was after factoring in the outage hours necessitated by system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for its maintenance activities; and those instances were deemed “out of management control.”

In its motion for reconsideration filing, SNAP-Benguet argued that Article IV of Resolution No. 10 “does not require an outage to be reflected in the GOMP before it is considered planned,” stating further that “the revised schedule of Ambuklao unit 1’s annual preventive maintenance is actually reflected in the 2021 revised GMOP.”

The company likewise specified low water availability in the reservoirs, which is a cyclical phenomenon on the generation capability of hydro plants during dry season or summer months.

“This is the reason that the maintenance activities of hydro plants are typically scheduled around the second quarter of each year,” the firm noted, adding that such scheduling is allowed under Section 3.2 of Department of Energy (DOE) Circular No. 2020-02-004, which prescribes that “only hydroelectric power plants shall be allowed to conduct power plant maintenance during the peak quarter.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/11/15/snap-appeals-penalty-on-hydro-facilitys-outages/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=snap-appeals-penalty-on-hydro-facilitys-outages)