DOE wants to fine, file cases vs gencos over Red, Yellow Alerts

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The Department of Energy (DOE) wants to penalize power generating companies (gencos) and is even looking to file cases against them for the unplanned outages that led to the Red and Yellow Alerts in the Luzon Grid not just this week’s, but also of previous weeks’.

Based on a department circular issued last year, only hydropower plants are allowed to conduct preventive maintenance activities in the second quarter of the year, which includes the summer season wherein peak power demands register.

“We came out with [the circular] in order to prevent any penalties that can be attributed to anybody who will be responsible for any situation of red or yellow alerts, especially load droppings in this time of pandemic,” Energy Usec. Felix William Fuentebella said in Monday’s briefing on the Luzon Red Alert.

The DOE  has coordinated with the Philippine Competition Commission, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), and the Department of Justice to collate all the data it may need for any case buildup. Fuentebella even warned gencos of possible economic sabotage charges against them back in April.

“We have already stated that we are in need of sufficient reserves and capacity buildup, and we have been highlighting this need since two years ago. Sadly, we don’t want to impose any penalty, but we really have to make those accountable to be responsible for the situation, so we will again coordinate with our enforcement agencies, and will report the same to the cabinet for further instructions,” Fuentebella added.

The DOE also reminded power distributors and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines of its contracting obligations to address the needed capacity increases for a reliable power system for its consumers.

The ERC has also ordered several gencos to explain their plants’ forced shutdowns from January to April since these allegedly exceeded the allowable number of days they can do so per year.

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