Outage days of power plants capped

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    The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) recently promulgated rules on allowable outages of power generating units in the country.

    The ERC said the rules on interim reliability performance indices and equivalent outage days per year will ensure and improve reliability, security and affordability of the supply of electric power while promoting accountability of generation companies.

    “The ERC, as the regulatory body of the electricity sector, needs to ensure generating plants are well-maintained and perform within the benchmark/standard per technology for all generating units. This will not only ensure reliable supply but will also stabilize the price of electricity due to less or non-exposure to the volatile prices in the spot market,” said Agnes Devanadera, ERC chairperson and chief executive officer, in a statement.

    Under said rules, allowable number of days unavailable for power plants were at 44.7 for pulverize coal-fired; 32.3 for circulating fluidized bed coal-fired; 20.2 for combined cycle gas; 29.2 for gas turbine; 19 for diesel-fired; 19.7 for geothermal; 29.9 for hydroelectric; 58..6 for oil-fired; and 39.7 for biomass.

    The rules only apply to generation companies with conventional and non-variable renewable energy generating plants that are connected to the grid, including embedded generating plants with an aggregated capacity of 5 megawatts and above.

    Devanadera added by setting and giving specific parameters on the standard planned and unplanned outages, generation companies are obligated to ensure their facilities are properly maintained and will result in less frequency of unplanned outages.

    There are no rules governing outage days, which at present largely depend on the agreements between the power plant and the distribution utility in their power supply agreement.