ERC to keep close eye on power plants’ outages

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The Energy Regulatory Commission will push for stricter probe on the causes of forced outages of power plants especially during periods when supply-demand conditions reach critical levels.

ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera expressed in a Manila Bulletin report that the Commission will be ready to deploy their teams to check on the plants should these power generating units simultaneously conk out during the summer months.

“The moment that a power plant reports an unplanned outage, we will send out people to check and scrutinize what really caused forced shutdown,” Devanadera was quoted as saying in the report.

It remains unclear to the regulatory body as to why both new and old power plants have been experiencing recurrent forced shutdowns.

According to the report, the Commission had commenced a study to identify the technical triggers to these outages. Unfortunately, this study is yet to be completed; but per initial findings, plant owners and operators generally cited “tube leak” as the primary cause of these outages.

As the country eases into the summer months, alarm bells had already been raised that tight supply conditions will, once again, affect the Luzon grid; thus, stakeholders are now organizing various contingency measures on how to retain power supply amidst threats of unplanned shutdowns.

It was emphasized that when load shedding or rolling brownouts occur, areas with the highest system losses will be affected first and key areas, like business districts or those with feeders aligned to vital installations such as hospitals, military outposts, and even government offices, are often spared from power service interruptions.