DOE wants power plants to have enough time to rest

DOE wants power plants to have enough time to rest

DOE wants power plants to have enough time to rest

Department of Energy (DOE) logo. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Department of Energy (DOE) is considering giving power plants longer periods to conduct maintenance works to optimize efficiency and prevent outages in the long run.

“[They] will be able to take a deep dive into really [inspecting] the different parts of the plant,” Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla told reporters, adding:


“It’s not only from a purely punitive standpoint, but you see, preventive maintenance is very important. And just like in aircraft, you have to have regular maintenance to be done and enough time to carry out the maintenance.”


He said countries like Japan provide sufficient time for power generation facilities to undertake maintenance shutdowns.

According to the energy chief, rehabilitation works on power generation facilities have to be done “within a very limited period.”

He recalled an instance during the 2022 national elections wherein the maintenance schedule of a number of plants had to be postponed and as a result, it affected the facilities’ performance.

“We have another election so we’re preparing for those. But we’re hoping that by that time in 2025, the El Niño [phenomenon] will not recur. And therefore, we will have enough time for the plants to do their rehabilitation work before that,” he added.

Resolution No. 10, which the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) issued in 2020, prescribed the allowable number of outage days depending on the type of power plant.

Pulverized coal power plants are given a total of 44.7 days of shutdowns while coal facilities utilizing the circulating fluidized bed technology have up to 32.3 days.


Combined cycle gas plants have 20.2 days, while gas turbine facilities have 29.2 days. Diesel-fired power plants, meanwhile, have 19 days.

The ERC reviews a power plant operator’s noncompliance in case the number of allowable outage days is breached. The regulator will then impose the necessary fines and penalties in case of failure or refusal to comply.

In 2023, the ERC imposed approximately P60 million in penalties on 14 generation companies for breaching the allowable number of outage days.

In January, ERC chair Monalisa Dimalanta said they were pushing for amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act to redirect penalties levied on power firms into refunds for consumers inconvenienced by power outages.

Under the law, the regulator is authorized to impose penalties ranging from P50,000 to a high of P50 million for violations by industry players.

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Lotilla said the ERC was considering heat wave as one of the parameters in determining the maximum number of days of scheduled plant maintenance shutdown.

TAGS: Department of Energy (DOE), power plants

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