Fines await gencos this August over Red Alerts

agnes devanadera

Power generation companies (gencos) that caused the Red Alerts and rotational brownouts in Luzon from May 31-June 2 will soon be slapped with penalties, according to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

At the House Committee on Energy’s hearing last week, ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera said that the decisions against the erring gencos are already being drafted. She added that although there have been delays, the quasi-judicial commission will comply with the deadline set this August.

Gencos that have power plants found to have gone beyond the allowable number of days of “forced outages” face fines ranging from Php100,000 to Php500,000 per day of unwarranted “unplanned shutdowns.”

Based on ERC’s past penalty impositions, Devanadera said that the maximum fine imposed against such violations had been at Php50 million.

The commission previously said that it had been investigating at least 17 gencos whose supposed forced outages of their facilities led to the Red Alerts.

However, House deputy speaker and Cagayan De Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said the penalties might still be very low that gencos may not learn their lesson just yet. The congressman, then, stressed that increasing penalties will serve gencos a lesson, otherwise, they will only make excuses again. 

Rodriguez proposed higher penalties ranging from Php1 million-Php5 million per day. Devanadera acknowledged the recommendation, saying that the penalties can still be amended, but the application will already be prospective, instead of enforcing it retroactively.