ERC concludes probe on 8 gencos over Red Alerts

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The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said it has finished its probe on eight power generation companies (gencos) that were found to have gone over their plant outage allowance leading to the Red Alerts in Luzon from May 31 to June 2.

At the congressional hearing for her agency’s 2022 budget on Thursday, ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera said that the commission has finalized evaluation of the facts regarding the eight gencos and is about to wrap up the computation of penalties.

Devanadera did not name the said gencos, but said the ERC will release the final resolution “within the next two weeks.”

The gencos’ explanations, she said, generally revolved around issues connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the inability of technical people to come in for duty and delays in the delivery of the spare parts due to the lockdowns. 

A total of 17 gencos were ordered by the ERC to explain their involvement in the Red Alerts. The commission is also looking into the possible collusion among the gencos whose facilities were on extended shutdown, including went on unplanned maintenance activities, leading to the rotating brownouts. The ERC hopes to finish its probe this month.

Except for those operating hydroelectric power plants, gencos are not allowed by the Department of Energy to shut down their facilities during the second quarter of every year, as power demand peaks during this time. The ERC likewise set a cap on the number of days a plant can go on unplanned outages annually.