DOE pushes for penalties on recurrent power plant outages


A new performance assessment and audit being pushed by the Department of Energy (DOE) will impose penalties on power plants that encounter recurring forced outages. 

The energy department proposed in a draft circular that energy players that will be determined via audit non-compliant with reliability and quality standards of operations of power facilities shall be meted with fines and penalties. 

They will also be fined should they fail to apply recommended improvements in their operations within specified timeframes, as reported by Manila Bulletin.

Per the energy department’s proposal, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and a third-party consultant shall administer the audit for the power generation companies, the transmission company as well as private distribution utilities. 

“The ERC may commission the conduct of performance assessment and audit through an independent accredited auditor,” the proposed policy stated. 

It also qualified that in the engagement of a consultant, the regulatory agency must adopt accreditation rules.

The National Electrification Administration (NEA), which is the agency exercising oversight over the electric cooperatives’ operations, shall be in charge of the performance assessment and audit on ECs. 

Among the key parameters that shall be scrutinized by the ERC in the audit process would be: multiple transmission facility tripping; generation plant tripping resulting to automatic load dropping which then induces brownout conditions; the instances of yellow and red alert status declarations; loss of large load resulting in higher frequency at more than 61 hertz; islanding operation; partial or total system blackout; as well as tripping in transmission and distribution facilities.

The audit process must also verify “recurring complaints by electricity consumers on the services and operations of an electric power industry participant.”

The ERC and NEA audits must also be able to assess the incidents and threats to the overall security of the country’s electricity system.

The frequency of audits shall be every five years for generation companies and for transmission firm National Grid Corporation of the Philippines; and every four years for the distribution utilities including electric cooperatives.

For ERC, the proposed policy stipulated that it shall “cover parameters and standards that are vital to the operations of the participants and have impact on power systems/facilities and consumers.”

The result of the performance assessment and audit shall be consolidated in a report that must be submitted to the DOE to aid its development of policies and to have it integrated in the Philippine Energy Plan.

The report must contain the summary of findings; key recommendations for gaps; issues; non-compliance; opportunities for improvement; scope of work and performance summary. ##









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