ERC flags Meralco on ‘incomplete requirements’ on power plant operations

By Myrna M. Velasco – September 24, 2019, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has flagged Manila Electric Company (Meralco) that still has “incomplete submissions” on its application for certificate of compliance (COC) for the targeted commercial operations of its 455-megawatt San Buenaventura Power Co. Ltd. (SBPL) generating facility in Quezon province.

ERC logo(Photo courtesy of www.erc.gov.ph)

ERC logo(Photo courtesy of www.erc.gov.ph)

The power facility, which has been anticipated to go on commercial operations mid-September, is its joint venture with Thai firm EGCO Group. The generated electricity of the plant is under a 20-year power supply agreement with Meralco.

In a statement to the media, the regulatory body noted that while Meralco has pleaded for the issuance of its COC, the ERC indicated that the utility firm “has yet to complete and secure the necessary permits before the ERC can fully evaluate the propriety of the grant of the COC.”

It has been previously indicated to the media that the ERC raised questions on the water rights issued by the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), which is common to most coal-fired generating facilities in the country.

Without the SBPL plant getting commercially on-line this October, it has been cautioned that Luzon grid might be plunged into tight supply conditions because several generating facilities will be on scheduled shutdowns.

Nevertheless, the ERC emphasized that the generation companies (GenCos) seeking COC approvals “must have fully complied with all the necessary documents and permits required in order to secure the same.”

ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera qualified that the Electric Power Industry Reform Act “has specified the necessary clearances that GenCos must secure prior to the ERC’s issuance of COCs.”

She further stressed that “unless all the documentary requirements have been fully complied with, only then we can issue the corresponding COC.”

The ERC specified that under the revised rules for the issuance of COCs, it has 60-calendar days “to act on applications for COCs reckoned from the date of complete submission of the required information, including the completion of the ERC’s technical inspection of the power plant.”

The GenCos are also required to obtain the necessary health, safety and environmental clearances from the appropriate government agencies, according to the regulatory body.

Devanadera asserted that while the ERC welcomes the entry of new power plants, “we will not allow the stakeholders to breach the law and the rules that we have promulgated as they were designed to ensure that the consuming public’s interest is not compromised.”