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Senate urged: Penalize gencos involved in unplanned outages

An infrastructure-oriented think tank has called on the Senate energy committee led by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian to push for penalties against all power generating companies involved in the recent unplanned and forced outages which caused unexpected rotating brownouts within the Luzon power grid.
    “The public demands an explanation how in the world was it possible that major generating plants suddenly become unavailable in such a short window of time. More importantly, the public should not be made to pay for these unplanned shutdowns. It should be these gencos that should pay the costs of higher power rates in the spot market,” said  Terry L. Ridon, Infrawatch PH convenor and former member fo the House energy committee.
    Ridon said the following unplanned outages of the following power plants caused the April 13 red alert: 
    a. San Miguel Consolidated Power Corp. (SCPC) Unit 2, with 150-MW
    b. Sual Unit I of Team Energy and San Miguel, with 647-MW
    c. Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp. (SLPGC) Unit 2 of DMCI, with 150-MW
    d. Pagbilao Unit 3 of Team Energy and Aboitiz Power, with 420-MW
    e. South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp. (SLTEC) Unit 1 of AC Energy with 135-MW..
Explain shutdown, bear the costs
    “We note that these generating plants are operated by country’s leading conglomerates, and thus, all the more should they be made to explain why their plants went out, and whether they are making a commitment to bear the costs of higher power prices from the spot market.”
    Ridon said should the gencos refuse to make a voluntary commitment, government should initiate penalty proceedings, similar to its intervention in the water sector.
    “The main concern of the public during these times is more on the higher costs due to the unplanned shutdowns. We can more ably bear rotating brownouts than higher power rates for reasons we have absolutely nothing to do with.”
    Infrawatch recently lauded the  Department of Energy 's crackdown on gencos profiting from price spikes in the electricity spot market during the string of yellow alerts over the Luzon grid.
    “This move by the energy department is a welcome development to ensure that the public interest is protected during times of limited power supply," said  Ridon.
    The energy department recently said that it will release a list of gencos which may have gained financially from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).
Proactive action welcomed
    “The crackdown on profiteering gencos is consistent to the resolve of President Rodrigo Duterte to make life comfortable for Filipinos.”
    Ridon said unexpected price hikes due to unplanned outages should not be borne by consumers but by erring gencos.
    “The public should not be made to pay for the inefficiencies and failures of generating companies. They should pay the higher costs in the spot market themselves.”
No repeat of 2013 spot market spikes
    Ridon said the energy department should not stop at simply naming profiteering gencos, but also make them accountable through penalty proceedings, similar to what is now being undertaken in the water sector.
    “The public will not be contented at simply knowing which gencos had profited. They would also want to know whether government can stop these gencos from passing on their profits to the public.”
    Ridon said the bitter experience during the 2013 price spikes in the spot market should serve as a warning that government should not surrender its mandate in protecting the public.
    “Profiteering gencos should be penalized, and rebates reflected in our monthly bills.”

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