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Thursday, August l, 2019

Lawmakers beware: More than 20 million Filipinos are watching you


strohger economy and better life the Philippines. (2) Requ ires use of
for our people." Now operating in renewable energy, (3) Subjects the
12 towns, SPSB brings 24/7 ele<- grant'ee to regulation by the Ener-
I ricity [ot the first time to over gy Regulatory Commissign (ERC)
200,000 Filipinos, at zero cost to and Depairtment of Energy (DOE),
the government. According to Pulse pursuant to ElectricPower Industry
Asia DirectorAna Maria Tabunda, Reform Act (Epira), (4) Obligates
support fornew options forcheaper the grantee to provide reliable ser-
elettricity is consistent across all vice, with financial penalties, (5)
J N mernory there is nci proposed law than House Bill (HB) demographics in Luzon. Visayas Explicitly states the grantee "sha1l
| 8179, originally filed on September, 3, 2018, that has gained and Mindanao. not be entitled to any government
I tremendous public support for immediate approval, generating subsidy."
. tacebook posts of more than 20 million and drawing ovea2 m illion- 1000/o electdfication by 2022 In 2018, SPSB completed the
likes, comments and shares. SHOULD the bill become a law, largest Solar-Battery Microgrid in
SPSB s commitment is clear. ln a Southeast Asia at zero cost to the
statement, it said: "We commit our government. With solar panels,
The proposed bill grants Solar nology can finally accessrcheaper utmost to supporl th is administra- Tesla baLteries, and backup die-
Para SaBayan (SPSB) anonexclusive better servi(e at zero cost to the tion's goal ofachieving 100 percent sel generators, it serves Paluan 24
right to operate microgrids in "re government. / electrification and ending energy hours a day, 365 days a year, at 50
mote and unviable, or unserved or Various local government un its povertyby2022, and do this without percent below the full cost of the
underserved areas in selected prov- have already validated concrete need for government subsidy. 'local electric coop
inces of the Philippines." examples of the SPSB technology. "For decades, Philippine presi- Paluan Mayor Carl Pangilinan
Once approved, SPSBwill (1) en- Misamis Occidental Covernor ano dents have tried and failed to reach said: "Throughout our history, our
able projects without needing the former Tangub City Mayor Philip 100 percent nationwide electrifica- Lown was denied serviceby the elec-
consent of the existing utility, (2) Tan were quotedby the media, thus: tion. Now, we have a solution, with tric coop because of lack of supply
covers underserved municipalities, "For several years, Tangubanons ex- the potential to energize the entire in the whole Occidental Mindoro.
(3) reduce approval requirements, perienced extended power outages cotntryby 2022, ar'd add to the list Everything changed when Paluan
(4) create an effectiye alternative, and exorbitant energy prices. But, of reasons why this administration sought Solar Para Sa Bayan to provide
while respecting the rights of ex with the advent ofthe Solar Para Sa will be remembered as the one that stable, cheap, clean energy. Our mu-
isting utilities and paving the way Bayan Project, thesewill nowbecome did the most to improve the lives of nicipalitynow enjoys 24 / 7 ele cfricity,
for others to offer better service to a thing of the past." ordinary Filipinos." which has opened new opportunities
consumers. For his part, Mayor Shierwin for Palueios."
Unlike the existing Qualified TaayofDingalan, Aurora, said: "We Amended version The DOE said SPSB now serves
Third Party (QTP) program, which thank SPSB forfulfillingthe dream HB 8179's final version (1) Limits 24/7 power in over I 2 towns, ben-
had energizedjust three barangays ofDingaleios, by solving our pow the scope to "remote andunviable, efiting over 200,000 Filipinos. Ithas
in 1B years andwashighlysupported er crisis and reducing the cost of unserved, or underserved areas," in developed projects in 18 provinces
with bill ions ingdvernment funds, electricity. This is a great help selected provinces with less than and aims to support the DOE's goal'
lhe SPSB and its advanced tech- for a town like ours to achievg a 2 percent of the power demand of SEE ?RrLLo," Ai L,

* PAcf ' /d t? Nlz'*r PAqe- Pia - - -2


(1)
of serving off-grid areas.
and "cannot be exPected to Peace-
the Epirabecame law in 2001, with fully yield their jobs anytjme soon
Arillo. .. its primary obiective "to ensure and
accelerate the totalelectrification oi Microqild fianchise Lo tbe private sector"'
House Bill 8179 grants SPSB the
CoNTINUBD PRoM 4'6 DEsPiiE all this, occidental Min-
th€ countrv."
doro Electric CooPerative has nonexclusive right to oPerate mi-
According to the National EIec- croqrids in "temote and unviable,
for the PhiliPPines to achieve 100 insisted that SPSB cease its oP-
percent electrificati onbY 2022' trification Administration, it still .r, irrs"rv"d or underserved areas
needs P25 billion to reach the coun- erations because Paluan is Part
of OMECO's franchise. In a state- in selected Provinces of the Phil-
12 million FiliPinos try's unenergized sitios. Curiously, iooines." Unlike the existing QTP
the National Poi'er CorP. sPends ment, the Philippine Rural Electric
without electrici$ CooDeratives Association saidthat
p-gr"-, this franchise (1) En-
ACCORDING to the DOE, an esti- over P20 billion a year serving mis- ables proiects without needlng tne
sionarv areas, mostlY for less than its members would defend their
mated 12 million Filipinos lackaccess "electricity ftanchise privileges" .or,r"n, of th" existjng utility: (2)
24 hours a daygiven the difficulties
to electricity. This is despite the fact Covers underserved municipalities'
\ er\<l* - AG'/ not jusr unserved barangaYs;
(3)
Reduces Permitting re4uirements;
(.2) and (4) Creates an effective alterna-
ii*. *ftitu respecting the rights of
existing utilities and pavingthe way
{or others to offer better service to
consumers.
HB 8179's final version incorPo-
rates inputs of industry stakehold-
ers from congtessional hearings
to
ensure the f@nchise is highly regu-
EPira and
lated and iomPliant with
;L^ a^.<ritrrtion' respects exlstlng
ir.'"Ir, a ooe -d enc
'""t
'" " "ttut"i
safeguards l nls
to impose further
ifn.ror"i gt""t"rrestrictions on
"u"o limrtrng
.iebB th
"tt "*ittlttgutilities'
prohibttrng
it to m..gintl ar"a" and
ii rro- i"."iuiog any government
subsidY.

ce(ilio arill0@
I0 reoch the writer'?-rntil
gmail.com.