Power Outages in the Philippines: Unexamined Positions

The Senate Energy Committee continues its inquiry to address the rotating blackouts this year. According to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, the power outages are caused by unplanned and extended maintenance shutdowns of high generation capacity power plants. For example, from 31 May to 2 June, the four plants with combined capacity of over 2000 MW were offline. While this seems like a simple issue of properly scheduling maintenance, there is a lot more to unpack.

Planned maintenance shutdowns are scheduled regularly based on operating hours maintenance schedule and manufacturer recommendations. Every year, the Department of Energy (DOE) requires power plants to submit their preferred maintenance schedule which the system operator aggregates and adjusts until the schedule meets a levelized reserve level throughout the year. A final schedule is released every October of the year before and is called the Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP).