THE ENERGY REGULATORY Commission (ERC) has ordered the Alcantaras’ power plant in western Mindanao to pay a fine of P100,000 for its failure to renew its certificate of compliance (COC) within the required period, rejecting its plea for a more lenient penalty.

Western Mindanao Power Corp. (WMPC) was ordered to pay within 15 days for the basic amount of imposable penalty for first violation as called for under ERC rules. Its offer of settlement in the amount of P50,000 was rejected.

“Upon evaluation and thorough review of the records of the case, particularly the facts stated in WMPC’s explanation, the Commission finds WMPC’s reason for its failure to comply with the period for the renewal of its COC unmeritorious,” the ERC said in its order.

It said it was not convinced by the reason given by WMPC for failing to file, which is “the lack of proper turn-over of material documents.”

“It is only reasonable to expect accountability from WMPC in the management of its business affairs,” the commission said.

The ERC said the company, through its power plant manager, should have exercised due diligence in managing its regulatory requirements. Its engineers have the primary duty and responsibility to monitor and ensure the filing of permits, licenses and regulatory compliance with pertinent government agencies.

The ERC said the certificate of compliance is indispensable in WMPC’s business operations.

Under the 2014 Revised COC Rules, a power generation company or entity with self-generating facility intending to continue operating beyond the term of the issued certificate should apply with the ERC for its renewal at least six months before its expiration.

On June 8, 2018, WMPC filed the application for the renewal of its COC of its 10 bunker-C fired generating units with a total rated capacity of 112 megawatts, and one unit black start diesel generating set with a rated capacity of 160 kilowatts in Sangali, Zamboanga City. The COC was set to expire on Aug. 7, 2018.

On Dec. 4, 2018, the ERC issued a show cause order against WMPC directing it to submit its explanation why it should not be penalized for filing 122 days later of what is required.

WMPC’s plant is vital for Zamboanga City, which earlier this year experienced power outages after the company cut power supply to the area’s electric cooperative for failing to settle outstanding debts. — Victor V. Saulon