ERC not keen on removing restrictions for maintenance shutdowns

ERC approves Mindanao Transmission Backbone Project

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is opposed to removing the restrictions for periods allotted for maintenance shutdowns as well as forced outages of power plants.

In a report by the Manila Bulletin, ERC Chairperson Monalisa C. Dimalanta stated that lifting the ceiling limit is unsuitable at this time and that the commission had not yet decided to permit a “free-for-all rule on outages.”

The outage limit is a crucial element in the consistency reference in the industry, and the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association Inc. (PIPPA) sought the removal of restrictions on the maintenance shutdowns of power plants. 

Dimalanta underscored that the PIPPA petition only involved the reevaluation of the ceiling thresholds, as the association said that the limit does not apply to particular technologies, which the commission agreed to.

However, ERC said that they only needed to pin down the fitting parameters that would be applied in setting the restrictions, but completely discarding the restrictions is not viable. 

As per the requirements laid down by the ERC, facilities on pulverized coal technology were only allowed to cease operations or be on outage for 44.7 days, 27.9 days for planned outages, and 16.8 for unplanned outages. Meanwhile, coal plants on circulating fluidized bed technology were only allowed 32.3 days of outages, with 15.4 for planned and 16.9 for unplanned.

Meanwhile, combined cycle plants only have allowable outages of 20.2 days, 12.5 for planned and 7.7 for unplanned. 

For gas turbine plants, 29.2 days was the maximum number of outages, with 6.5 days for planned and 22.7 for unplanned. Additionally, diesel plants are only allowed to cease operations for 19.0 days, with 5.0 days for planned and 14 days of unplanned outages.

Geothermal plants were only allowed to have a maximum of 19.7 days of outages, with 6 for planned and 13.7 for unplanned outages. For hydropower plants,  the allowable number of outages was 29.9 days, 23.1 days for planned and 6.8 days for unplanned. 

Moreover, for biomass, the allowable outages are only 39.7 days, 32.7 for planned, and 7.0 for forced outages. For oil plants, a total outage of 58.6 days was only allowed, 30.8 for planned and 27.8 for unplanned.