DOE tapping private engineers for audit of Luzon power plants
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) is forming a technical team for its planned audit of all power plants in Luzon.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier ordered that an audit be conducted, amid the recent series of blackouts that have hit Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
In an interview with dzBB on Saturday, August 6, DOE spokesperson Pete Ilagan said the department is in talks with engineers who will be joining the audit team.
"Maliban sa expertise ng mga inhinyero sa Department of Energy at sa mga agency sa Department of Energy, ay atin ding inaanyayahan ang mga pribadong mga experts katulad ng mga electrical engineers na napapabilang dito sa isang national association kasama na rin po 'yung mga mechanical engineers," Ilagan said.
(Aside from the expertise of our engineers at the Department of Energy and attached agencies of the Department of Energy, we are also inviting experts from the private sector, such as electrical engineers who are part of a national association and also mechanical engineers, to join the team.)
Ilagan said the timeline for the audit could be determined by Monday, August 8.
The blackouts in Luzon had occurred due to thinning or zero reserves, with several power plants either on maintenance shutdown or experiencing forced outages.
Asked about immediate solutions to the thin reserves, Ilagan said Cusi already reminded the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) of its obligations.
"Kailangan nakahanda pirmi ang National Grid Corporation of the Philippines sa reserve capacity nang sa ganoon kapag ganitong mayroong nagsa-shut down, ay mayroon agad reserbang planta, reserbang kapasidad na mapag-pupunuan 'yung kakulangan bunga nitong mga tinatawag na forced outages or unplanned na mga outages," said Ilagan.
(The NGCP should always be ready with reserve capacity so that when there are shutdowns, we already have a reserve plant, reserve capacity that would fill the shortage brought about by what we call forced outages or unplanned outages.)
Aside from the audit, Cusi asked the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to investigate possible violations by power utilities. He said the blackouts are "in total violation" of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).
The Senate energy committee also plans to look into the simultaneous blackouts and whether there was price rigging by industry players. – Rappler.com