ERC modifies standards for operations of distribution utilities

Published March 22, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Myrna M. Velasco

With heavy integration of variable renewable energy (VRE) or the power facilities with on-and-off electricity generation, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) noted that it has been prompted into modifying the Philippine Distribution Code (PDC) for the power utilities sector.

The PDC is basically the power distribution sector’s bible that shall be guiding this sub-segment of the electric power industry through the required standards and level of efficiencies that they must strive for in their operations.

The modified standards, according to the ERC, will be enforced on the strength of the regulatory body’s Resolution No. 02, series of 2018. The updated policies had been crafted and adopted through the proposed mechanisms of the Distribution Management Committee (DMC), an independent body that has recommendatory powers on the rules crafting of the industry’s regulator.

The revised PDC, it was emphasized, “has taken into account the Philippines’ adoption of new and emerging technologies, including VRE, as well as best practices and experiences of foreign jurisdictions in the use of these technologies.”

ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera further qualified that the fortified edict for the country’s power distribution sector had been a “result of several years of technical review, analysis and coordination work among the members of technical staff of the DMC in close collaboration with the stakeholders of the power distribution sector.” The regulatory agency had guided the formulation of the revised fiat and standards for the sector.

The ERC chair explained that they had seen “the need to update the existing PDC to include new standards, policies, requirements and rules issued by the ERC, Department of Energy and other authorities to address issues on the developments brought about by the promotion of renewable energy and open access and retail competition.”

Other main focus of revisions in the distribution sector’s code delved with the “establishment of connection and operational requirements for embedded generating plants,” – both for conventional and variable RE sources.

Additionally, the embedded generating plants had been “classified according to their characteristics and installed capacity.”

Further prescriptions were also set on “specified procedures for new connection and modifications of existing connection to guide prospective project proponents in connecting to the distribution system.”

The decree similarly touched on the operation of distribution system within the domains of economic zones; as well as amendments to other laws, such as that of Republic Act 7920 or the New Electrical Engineering Law.

The revised PDC, it was further noted, has likewise been harmonized with the relevant provisions of the old code; as well as with rules governing the country’s Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.