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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

Senator wants energy firms to shoulder cost of power outages

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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said the economic losses shouldered by consumers due to power outages should be passed on to generation companies through penalties, according to a report by GMA News.

This was the recommendation of the lawmaker when asked about possible actions against generation firms that do not perform up to par.

“They should be penalized and the cost of economic losses on behalf of the consumers should be passed onto them,” Gatchalian said in an ANC interview.

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“For example, if they went on unplanned outages or forced outages, the consumers are the one bearing the economic losses. That should be transferred to the gencos, meaning they should be penalized,” he added.

Gatchalian said the rules penalizing generation companies that do not follow the prescribed outages are already in place.

So far, Gatchalian said these generation firms are not facing sanctions or penalties from the government.

Recently, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)— the government body that enforces policies crafted by the Department of Energy— has issued notices of non-compliance to 17 generation companies.

The notices demand explanation from the gencos that breached the maximum allowable unplanned outage days per year.

“We are strictly monitoring and reviewing the weekly reports being submitted by the generation companies in compliance with our directive pertaining to the reliability performance indices and equivalent outage days per year of generating units," ERC chairperson Agnes Devanadera said in a previous statement.

"Based on the examination of our technical group, there are gencos that have breached the maximum allowable unplanned outage days as of April 2021”, Devanadera noted.

In the same interview, Gatchalian acknowledged the reforms introduced in the ERC under Devanadera’s leadership.

However, he noted that ERC is still delayed in terms of enforcing policies.

“The ERC is delayed in terms of enforcement and they have to improve their communication with DOE. These two should talk and act fast,” the lawmaker said.

“The DOE can come up with strong policies and order ERC to enforce those policies,” he added.

The ERC issued in November 2020 Resolution No. 10, Series of 2020 entitled “A Resolution Adopting the Interim Reliability Performance Indices and Equivalent Outage Days Per Year of Generating Units”.

The said resolution sets forth the maximum or cap for annual unplanned outages per generating plant technology.

The resolution became effective on January 3, 2021 upon completion of the required 15-day publication period.


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