THE ENERGY Regulatory Commission (ERC) has ordered the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) to pay a fine of P980,000 after a unit of the Malaya Thermal Power Plant (MTPP) exceeded its allowable limit for outages.

Between Jan. 3 and April 25, the plant’s second unit went on unplanned outage for a total of 49 days.  

The plant, in Pililla, Rizal, was under PSALM control at the time.

“PSALM is hereby declared administratively liable for having 21.2 days of unplanned outages in excess of the 27.8 days allowable unplanned outages per year,” the ERC said in a decision posted on its website this week.

The outage limit for oil-fired power plants was set by the ERC in a 2020 resolution at 27.80 days per year.

“The root cause of the unplanned outages is the incident on March 3, where the AVR (automatic voltage regulator) of the generator excitation system of MTPP Unit 2 (was) switched to auto,” it said.

The ERC ordered PSALM to pay the penalty within 10 days from receipt of the decision.

The Sept. 8 decision was signed by ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Agnes VST Devanadera and three other commissioners.

BusinessWorld asked PSALM for comment, but it had yet to reply at deadline time.

Last month, PSALM turned over the MTPP’s operating documents to Belgrove Power Corp., a subsidiary of Fort Pilar Energy, Inc.

In an auction in May, Fort Pilar submitted the top offer for the plant of P3.12 billion, against a floor price of P1.85 billion.

The company later assigned its rights to Belgrove, which paid an additional P1.06 billion to PSALM for the remaining fuel inventory at the plant.

PSALM uses the proceeds of its asset disposals to settle financial obligations assumed from the National Power Corp. — Angelica Y. Yang