A SENATOR with oversight over the power sector said caps set by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on market share based on installed capacity provide a distorted picture because the actual output of some generators routinely exceeds these limits.

Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian, who chairs the chamber’s committee on energy, said there is a “big discrepancy” between market share as mandated by law and actual output.

“If you look at the actual generation, there’s a big discrepancy,” he told reporters.

He said companies with coal-fired plants, even though they may observe the installed-capacity cap, end up with an outsized share of the output because coal-fired technologies tend to service baseload requirements and are not affected by weather or time of day, unlike other technologies.

Mr. Gatchalian said coal-fired power plants account for about 32-33% of installed capacity, but in reality make up about 47-50% based on output.

He said coal plants’ bigger “actual” share was “logical” because the other power sources such as hydroelectric or solar are susceptible to the effects of the weather.

“Coal plants operate continuously; whether it rains or not, they continue to operate,” he said.

The ERC set the 2018 maximum power generation capacity controlled by a single entity and its related groups at 5,466,779.34 kilowatts (kW) or no more than 25% of the installed capacity of the national power grid, as called for by the law that deregulated the energy sector.

The ERC is mandated under Sec. 45 (a) of Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) to set the caps annually to prevent a person, company, related group or independent power producer administrator, singly or in combination, to own, operate, or control more than 30% of the installed generating capacity per grid, and 25% of the national grid.

In line with the EPIRA provision, the ERC issued Resolution No. 26, Series of 2005, which set the guidelines for the determination of installed generation capacity for each grid and the national grid, or the high-voltage backbone system of interconnected transmission lines, substations and related facilities.

The installed generating capacity is the sum of the maximum capacity of the generation facilities that are connected to the transmission system or distribution system that forms part of a particular grid.

He indicated that a fix may come in the form of amendments to the implementing rules and regulations of the law.

“But we want to engage ERC, we will see what their logic is,” he said. — Victor V. Saulon