Energy industry groups slam Yap bill granting monopoly powers to solar firm
An alliance of renewable energy industry associations has opposed a bill in Congress that will, according to the group, create a monopoly to a new firm set up by Leandro Leviste, son of Sen. Loren Legarda.
In a statement, the Philippine Solar and Storage Energy Alliance Inc. (PSSEA) said House Bill 8179—authored by Bohol Rep. Arthur Yap—aimed to grant a nationwide franchise to Solar Para Sa Bayan.
In particular, the group said the bill would give the firm the ability to “capture the entire electric power value chain (generation, transmission, distribution and supply) with no limitation as to the capacity of the systems it can install or the service area it will cover.”
“With over five million Filipinos still living without electricity and with the increasing impact of climate change, there is absolutely no justifiable reason for our policymakers and legislators to restrict the expanding renewable energy industry from developing solar, wind, hydro and biomass as sources of energy that will bring light to missionary areas throughout the country,” the group said.
PSSEA highlighted its “grave dismay” that House Bill 8179 granted Leviste’s firm the right to access any transmission or distribution system without any reciprocal obligation on its part, specifically compliance to existing and relevant laws and rules.
The group further pointed out that no franchise obligation, during its franchise term, was imposed on Solar Para Sa Bayan to ensure full electrification for all.
The group also pointed to the lack of regulation surrounding Solar Para Sa Bayan if House Bill 8179 became law.
“Despite all fiscal and tax incentives provided in the proposed franchise, there is nothing in the House bill that regulates the activities of Solar Para Sa Bayan,” the group said. “There are no impositions on performance or service requirements that would ensure the achievement of its objective to provide electricity in unserved and un-energized localities.”
“More alarming is the provision exempting Solar Para Sa Bayan from the regulatory powers of the Energy Regulatory Commission,” it added.
The statement was released by the Philippine Solar and Energy Storage Alliance, together with the Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP), Center for Renewable Energy and Science & Technology (CREST), Renewable Energy Association of the Philippines (REAP), and Confederation of Solar Developers in the Philippines (CSDP).
The group said its members “are deeply troubled and alarmed by House Bill 8179 because it effectively grants a monopoly and exempts one private company from the rules of competition and oversight provided under Epira and the RE Act.”
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