ERC names 8 gencos to be fined for exceeding allowable forced outages

agnes devanadera 2

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has named at least eight power generation companies (gencos) facing penalties as their respective plants have gone over the maximum number of days of allowable forced outages leading to rotational blackouts and electricity rate hikes last summer.

Based on a Manila Bulletin report, the ERC named the following agencies in a report it submitted to Congress.

In Luzon, these are CBK Power Co. Ltd. for its Kalayaan hydropower facility, government-owned Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) for its recently-divested Malaya Thermal Power Plant, Sem-Calaca Power Corporation and Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corporation (SLPGC) for their coal-fired plants in Calaca, Batangas, Team Sual Corporation for the Sual coal plant in Pangasinan, and SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet for the Ambuklao hydro plant.

Sem-Calaca and SLPGC are sister firms under Consunji-led Semirara Mining and Power Corporation.

The prolonged forced outages of Luzon plants, most notably of the 300-megwatt (MW) Unit 2 of Sem-Calaca’s plant and the 647MW Unit 2 of Sual, led to the Red Alerts from May 31-June 2.

As for Visayas plants, meanwhile, the ERC is penalizing Lopez-led Energy Development Corporation for its Nasulo geothermal facility in Negros Oriental and Cebu-based SPC Power Corporation for the Panay diesel-fired plant.

The cases of the eight gencos form part of the nine the quasi-judicial regulator has resolved, with fines on the eight to be imposed soon. Of the nine gencos probed, only SMC Global Power Holdings’ Masinloc Power Partners Co. Ltd. won’t be penalized.

Other gencos with cases up for resolution are those of First Gas Power Corporation (FGPC), First NatGas Power Corporation (FNPC), GNPower Mariveles Coal Plant Ltd., Hedcor Bukidnon, Inc., Panay Power Corporation, PSALM for the Agus hydro plant, and SPC Power for Power Barge 104.

Both also owned by the Lopezes, FGPC operates the 1,000MW Sta. Rita gas-fired power plant, while FNPC operates the 414MW San Gabriel gas facility. Aboitiz Power Corporation owns GNPower Mariveles and Hedcor Bukidnon, while Panay Power is a unit of Manny V. Pangilinan-led Global Business Power Corporation.

Following the Luzon Red Alerts, the ERC issued show cause orders to at 17 gencos for the prolonged forced outages of 35 plants.

ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera said the gencos should be responsible enough to efficiently manage their facilities and be sensitive enough to the implication of outages, whether planned or unplanned.

Meanwhile, the Power for People Coalition (P4P) hailed the ERC for its action against the gencos, but continues to seek a more permanent solution to the outages.

“We are happy that the ERC has taken action, but we are concerned that this will just be a counter-tradition without really resolving the root cause of these outages,” P4P convenor Gerry Arances said in a statement.

“Houses can have their own power generating capabilities through solar panels and the grid can be decentralized to minimize the effects of forced outages. But in the past six years, the Duterte administration and [Energy] Sec. [Alfonso] Cusi have done nothing but to choose the most destructive power sources possible – coal, gas, and if they would have their way, nuclear energy,” he added.