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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Senators want to hold gencos accountable for plant outages

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Senator Francis Escudero wants power generation companies (gencos) to be held accountable for any unreasonable or unjustified outage brought about by their negligence, incompetence, or their own fault.

Accountability measures, Escudero said, should be in place to address any unreasonable or unjustified downtime of power plants that resulted in intermittent electricity supply across the nation.

He stressed that the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) should press the gencos to explain the massive brownouts, which seriously disrupt daily life and businesses, especially amid the dry season.

“They (gencos) should be compelled to provide transparent explanations and justifications for any unplanned outages,” Escudero said. 

“The DOE and ERC should rein in the gencos to stay true to their scheduled outages and should be required to explain and justify the reasons behind these forced outages,” added the senator. 

According to Escudero, the DOE and ERC must enforce stricter oversight on gencos to ensure compliance. 

“No amount of ancillary or stand-by power can guarantee sufficient supply nor be able to stabilize the grid if these forced outages [remain] unchecked,” he noted. 

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has placed the Luzon grid on red and yellow alerts and the Visayas grid on yellow alert after 42 power plants either stopped supplying electricity or reduced their output. 

Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito echoed similar thoughts. He renewed calls for the government to keep the stability of our energy infrastructure to maintain support for the business sector.  

“They (foreign investors) want to see good infrastructure and services and stable power supply with reasonable prices,” Ejercito said.

“If we want to be competitive, we have a lot of catching up to do.  Energy has to be included in the masterplan,” he added.

Ejercito also called for the review of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) in light of recent energy-related incidents. He also encouraged the adoption of alternative energy sources.

“EPIRA promised stable power supply, lowering the cost of energy, but what happened was only privatization,” Ejercito lamented.

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