DOE wants probe on power plants for anti-competitive behavior

DOE wants probe on power plants for anti-competitive behavior

Department of Energy (DOE) secretary Alfonso Cusi has asked the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to look into any instance of anti-competitive behavior from energy players after a series of ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ alerts in the Luzon grid.

Cusi also told the ERC to ask power firms to explain why their power plants went offline.

Lack of power reserves caused power plants to go on scheduled and unscheduled shutdowns from July 25 to 29. The DOE said on Saturday that almost 3, 000 megawatts (MW) of capacity went on forced outage, causing brownouts in the grid.

ERC chairman Jose Vicente Salazar said, “We are also aware of the situation and we have in fact noted price surges during the past few days. We have identified the plants that have gone on unscheduled outages and if this condition sustains for some time, we will look into the bidding patterns of these plants.”

“We may look further into this if we find reason to believe that the players have taken advantage of the current supply deficit to drive up prices,” Salazar said.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) utilized the manual load dropping on Saturday due to the lack of power generation at 10:35 am outside of the Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) franchise, which amounts to 38 MW.

This caused Merlaco to use its interruptible load program and asked others to deload at 10 am on Saturday.

Meralco said on its Twitter account that its power plants are still on shutdown, including the unit 2 of its Sual power plant, the unit 2 of the Calaca power plant, unit 2 of the South Luzon Thermal Corp. plant, unit 2 of the Limay plant and unit 2 of the Angat hydroelectric facility.

As of 9 am today, the yellow alert is still raised over Luzon. Meralco said some of its plants are running under limited capacity.