DOE keeps track of power plant shutdowns for summer

By Myrna M. Velasco – February 4, 2018, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

To avoid straining power supply during the critical summer months, the Department of Energy (DOE) is also monitoring the shutdowns of power plants relative to their regular maintenance schedules.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi indicated that they are steering clear of a situation wherein more power plants will be taken off the power system, especially if the generating facilities without certificates of compliance (COCs) would not all offer their capacities via the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

“We are plotting the schedule of power plants that will be on regular maintenance shutdown because they will have impact on supply also,” the energy chief said.

Even with oversupply in capacity, if plant shutdowns are not properly managed and coordinated, such could still drive the power system into breaking point – and will in turn trigger unwanted electricity service interruptions.

Cusi qualified that “the ERC is working, but there are things needing its action as a collegial body,” including the required permits-to-operate or COCs of power generating facilities.

Like all stakeholders in the power industry, Cusi is also hopeful that the distressing leadership black hole at the ERC will finally be resolved.

Last week, the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association, Inc. (PIPPA) had already elevated its plea to President Rodrigo Duterte on the immediate need to restore normalcy at the ERC.

The organization of power generators in the country had stated that “the energy industry needs a fully functional Commission in order to effectively implement their mandate in accordance with EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act).”

PIPPA added “without a working Commission and putting a pause on the important work of the ERC, we will find ourselves without the needed approvals for PSAs (power supply agreements), connection agreements, price determination regulation, compliance certificates and licenses.”

As of last week, it was gathered from sources in Malacanang that Davao-based lawyer Alexis Lumbatan is seriously being considered for acting Commissioner appointment at the ERC,

Lumbatan is not entirely new in public view, because he was touted as “the funny guy” in President Rodrigo Duterte’s inauguration in 2016 – which circulated then in social media posts. Lumbatan also worked previously as chief of staff to Presidential son Paolo Duterte in Davao City.

Once his appointment is firmed up in the Palace, his papers would have to be transmitted to the Office of ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera, so he can take over in his temporary post at the regulatory body.