Energy dept sets inspection of power plants after brownouts

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2016 11:25 AM

MANILA – The government has commissioned an independent inspection of power plants after thin supply caused rotating brownouts in Luzon last month, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said Tuesday.

The Department of Energy (DoE) also urged regulators to speed up the process to establish new power plants and resolve disputes between power producers and distributors to boost capacity, Cusi told a Senate hearing.

More commercial establishments will also be asked to switch to generators when reserves are thin, to include those outside the franchise area of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), Energy Undersecretary and Wimpy Fuentebella said.

Power outages hit the country’s largest and most populous island on July 30 and August 5 after the simultaneous maintenance shutdowns of several power plants caused demand to outpace supply.

“We will make it institutionalized. We should have a group of technical people that will constantly look over the shoulder of our gencos (generation companies),” Cusi said.

The supply shortage pushed up electricity prices in the spot market for a brief period, but this would not reflect significantly on electric bills for the period. "Hindi ganun kalaki [It,s not that big]," he said.

Cusi said plants shut down for maintenance simultaneously since they were required to run uninterrupted during the election period.