The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is re-validating submitted reports of power plants on ‘boiler tube leak incidents’ and other glitches that somehow caused rotating brownouts in Luzon.
In a hearing by the Senate Committee on Energy, ERC Chairman Jose Vicente Salazar said that some plants have not submitted ‘reports on technical malfunctions’ within the 48-hour time frame set by the ERC. All plants complied after the second reminder from the commission.
Salazar said in the hearing that they will pursue technical re-validation process on the Bacon-Manito 1 geothermal plant; Calaca unit 2 coal-fired plant; GNPower unit 1 coal plant; Limay thermal facility; Makiling-Banahaw geothermal plant; Malaya unit 2 thermal facility; Pagbilao unit 2; South Luzon Thermal Energy Corporation unit 2 coal plant; and the unit 2 of Sual coal-fired power plant.
The ERC chair noted that around 2,299.8 megawatts of capacity loss was recorded following the plants’ outages in the critical stretch of July 26 to August 5.
Aside from evaluation on technical drawbacks, ERC is given a trickier probe if there were ‘collusive acts’ by the generation companies during thin power supply conditions.
Salazar said that there were spikes in spot prices in the ‘yellow and red alert’ days in the power systems, but a deeper analysis is needed to determine if the actions of the companies were ‘contrived.’
Yellow alerts in the grid were recorded as early as July 19, but power interruptions happened on July 30 and August 5.
The July – August 2016 simultaneous maintenance shutdowns and forced outages of power plants were somehow parallel to the events in 2013, which unnerved the industry that year.
However, cost impacts may not be on the same level due to the secondary price cap instituted in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) following the disastrous industry events three years ago, where P4.00 to P5.00 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) hikes in electricity rates were recorded.
The ERC is still setting its sights on possible abuses that may have been committed by market participants on the instances of deficient grid supply