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ERC: Probe sudden power plant outages

Workers connect electricity cables to a transmission pole. (Bloomberg)

THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) wants a study conducted on power plant outages in the country, which continues to suffer from thin power reserves, particularly in Luzon.

“[In the] speech [of] Mitsubishi, they supply 50 plants. We are interested to get hold of that list because that could be part of the data we are trying to combine. I don’t know yet who will conduct the study but somebody should come up with study on the outages,” said ERC Chairman Agnes VST Devanadera on Wednesday.

The ERC has done an initial review of power plants in the country. Based on this, Devanadera said even some new power plants, aged zero to five years, have conked out.

“[There are already plants that suffered] outage, and it’s not planned outage. We want to know why. It’s really ironic. But then, [Energy] Secretary [Alfonso] Cusi said [the] yellow alert [is not alarming],” she said, in a mix of English and Filipino.

This week, the Luzon grid was twice placed on yellow alert because of thin power reserves as a number of power plants suddenly went offline. On top of this, several power plants did not deliver their expected power generating capacity.

Earlier, the ERC said that from 2015 to June this year, oil-fired thermal power plants had the most number of outage days per year at 84.5, of which 50.4 were unplanned.

Diesel-fired plants had the least number of outage days at 15.8, followed by combined cycle plants at 19.1 days.

The ERC also said that average outage days of pulverized coal power plants reached 50.1, of which more than half or 28 were unplanned. Circulating fluidized bed coal power plants recorded 40.8, of which 24.3 were unplanned.

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