At least five power plants in various parts of the country had logged more than 100 days of forced outages, a duration even longer than a ‘honeymoon period’ being accorded by Filipino citizens to a new President of the Philippines.
The five plants identified by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in a list it submitted to Congress had been: unit 2 of Calaca coal-fired power plant of Semirara Mining and Power Corporation for 113 days; Unit 2 of Sual coal plant of TeaM Energy Philippines for 113 days; and Unit 1 of GNPower Mariveles coal plant, a joint venture of Aboitiz Power Corporation and AC Energy Corp. of the Ayala group, for 107.23 days versus allowable forced outages of 16.8 days for coal plants.
The two other generating facilities with registered high outages had been Panay diesel power plant of SPC Power Corporation for 109.99 days as against allowable forced outages of 14 days; and units 3 and 4 of Manolo Fortich hydro of Hedcor Inc. a subsidiary of Aboitiz group for 104.35 days versus allowable outages of 6.8 days for hydro technologies.
Further, the ERC listed 84.99 outage days for Panay Power plant of Global Business Power Corporation vis-à-vis permitted outages of 14 days; 81.28 outage days for Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan hydro plant; unit 3 of Agus 2 plant of Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation had 52.26 forced outage days; Malaya thermal plant of PSALM for 49 days; Masinloc coal-fired plant of SMC Global Power for 47.50 days; and San Gabriel gas plant of First Gen Corporation for 45.02 days.
The other generating units that breached allowable forced outages also included: Power Barge 104 for 38.88 days; Agus 2 hydro unit 1 for 38.07 days; Agus 6 unit 2 for 39.70 days; Nasulo geothermal plant of Energy Development Corporation for 36.34 days; Unit 1 of Calaca plant for 22.04 days; unit 2 of GNPower Mariveles plant for 28.58 days; Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corporation for 17.44 days; Sual unit 1 for 27.48 days; Power Barge 104 unit 2 for 15.21 days; Ambuklao unit 1 of SN Aboitiz Power for 21.07 days; San Lorenzo gas plant module 50 for 10.75 days; Santa Rita gas plant module 10 for 9.79 days; Santa Rita module 30 for 14.21 days; Santa Rita module 40 for 14.04 days; Agus 2 unit 2 for 9.68 days; Agus 6 unit 1 for 7.20 days; and Manolo Fortich hydro unit 2 for 9.07 days.
Under the ERC rules, coal-fired plants are only allowed to have forced outages of 16.8 days; diesel plants for 14 days; gas-fired power plants for 7.7 days; hydro plants for 6.8 days; and geothermal plants for 13.7 days.
The ERC, in a statement to the media on Monday, has highlighted that it has been probing deeper into the forced outages of power plants and its correlation to the resulting spikes in prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.
As stressed by ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera, “we have been monitoring the activities of the generation companies, especially those that underwent unplanned outages that caused the thinning of power supply in the Luzon grid,” adding that “as a consequence, there has been sustained high prices in the WESM.”
For that purpose, the ERC announced that it has created a task force to “conduct a study on the power plant outages and resulting high prices in the WESM,” and the power plants to be prioritized for technical inspection had already been identified.
The regulatory body reiterated that it has sent notices of non-compliance to generation companies, for them “to explain the incurred cumulative unplanned outages beyond the maximum allowable outage days for the year 2021.”
The ERC stated that it will also be issuing show cause orders (SCOs) to the power companies that will not comply with the regulator’s mandate.
The agency specified that out of the 2,083 incidents of unplanned outages within January to April this year, only 1,288 incidents were reported; while on 231 planned maintenance shutdowns, only 220 have been reported to the regulatory body.