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ERC to enforce new rules on allowable outages of power plants

THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has set new regulations for the allowable planned and unplanned outages of coal, gas, diesel, renewables, oil-fired thermal and combined cycle power plants, it said on Friday.

In a statement, the ERC said these “stringent rules” are meant to ensure the reliability, security and affordability of electric power supply while promoting accountability among generation firms, system operators (SOs), and transmission network providers (TNPs).

Based on its rules on the interim reliability performance indices and equivalent outages per year of generating units, SOs and TNPs should use the ERC’s allowable planned outage days in planning for their Grid Operating and Maintenance programs (GOMP).

“However, if the SO and the TNP shall utilize planned outages beyond what is allowable…the same shall provide a report as to the reason for such consideration,” the ERC wrote. The report must then be included in the quarterly GOMP submission to the ERC.

Meanwhile, the standard for unplanned outages must be “strictly observed”, said the regulator. It added that the unplanned outage allowance in days per year is the maximum cap per power plant technology.

“Not only shall this ensure that the generating plants will be properly maintained, consequently resulting to lesser incidents and occurrences of unplanned outages,” the ERC said.

In a separate statement, ERC chairperson and chief executive officer Agnes VST Devanadera said the parameters set for planned outages will “serve as a guide for the implementation of the GOMP, while the ones for the unplanned outages will serve as the standard for the generating units.”

If people or entities do not follow these rules, the ERC will issue a notice of non-compliance with an order to comply and to explain within seven days of receipt.

“After the Notice and Order shall have been issued by ERC and the person or entity still refuses and fails to comply within the reglementary period of what is incumbent upon the person or entity, ERC shall impose the necessary fines and penalties,” the agency said.

The sanctions, fines and penalties are based on ERC Resolution No. 3 issued in 2009.
The new rules will take effect 15 days after their publication in a newspaper of general circulation. — Angelica Y. Yang

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