Senator Win Gatchalian said power-generating companies that are unable to provide a stable and steady supply of electricity should be held accountable for outages that result in economic losses.
Gatchalian made this emphasis following a power interruption in Negros and Panay sub-grid due to an unplanned outage of Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) Unit 3 last January 17.
Specifically, Gatchalian called on the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to audit generation companies that consistently breach the reliability index and, if warranted, impose sanctions against them.
“Generation companies that consistently fail to provide their committed power supply should be held accountable. They should not be allowed to get off the hook easily,” he said. The lawmaker explained that holding generation companies accountable for power outages is explicitly provided for under ERC Resolution No. 10, series of 2020, which enforces the maximum number of days for the annual unplanned outages in generating assets.
It can be recalled that the blackout that struck Western Visayas for several days early this year was attributed in part to the unplanned outage of PEDC Units 1 and 2, as well as the Palm Concepcion Power Corp. (PCPC) Unit 1.
Gatchalian had earlier called for stiffer penalties against industry players found guilty of mismanaging power-related issues that result in economic losses, emphasizing that any penalty should be commensurate with the economic loss incurred in affected areas.
He noted that in the case of the widespread power outage experienced in Western Visayas for several days, economic losses incurred by both Iloilo province and Iloilo City have reportedly reached P5.7 billion.
“Anumang kapabayaan na nagdudulot ng pinsala sa araw-araw na pamumuhay ng ating mga kababayan at takbo ng ekonomiya ay dapat may karampatang kaparusahan para hindi na paulit-ulit ang ganitong mga insidente,” he said.
Under the reliability index implemented since 2020, for power facilities equipped with pulverized coal technology, their allowable “unavailability” or outages shall be equivalent to 44.7 days – comprising 27.9 days of planned outages and 16.8 days of forced or unplanned outages. For coal plants running on circulating fluidized bed (CFB) technology, allowable outages shall be for aggregate 32.3 days with 15.4 days of planned outages and 16.9 days of unplanned outages.