Solar firm to rivals: Franchise bill meant to break monopoly | Inquirer Business

Solar firm to rivals: Franchise bill meant to break monopoly

/ 05:02 AM September 25, 2018

A proposed law pending at the House of Representatives granting a national franchise to Solar Para sa Bayan Corp. (SPB) will not create a monopoly as the bill encourages other entities to apply for their own franchise, according to the company’s founder Leandro Leviste.

SPB is a proponent of mini-grids in areas that do not enjoy adequate electricity services as well as areas where there are no such services at all.

“The text of the bill speaks for itself: It is nonexclusive, encourages others to apply for the same, and aims to end the existing monopolies on electricity, because we believe consumers deserve new choices for better service at lower cost,” Leviste said in a statement.


“It also incurs zero cost to government, and eliminates the need for billions in subsidies to existing utilities,” he added.


Leviste was referring to House Bill No. 8179, which the Philippine Solar and Storage Energy Alliance, Inc. (PSSEA) and allied industry groups recently condemned as “unjust and unconstitutional.”

PSSEA—along with the Confederation of Solar Developers of the Philippines (CSDP), Renewable Energy Association of the Philippines (Reap), Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (Philreca), Organization of Socialized and Economic Housing Developers of the Philippines and Center for Renewable Energy and Science and Technology—lamented HB 8179 was being “railroaded,” breezing through the legislative machinery unlike in the case of bills granting franchise to “groups like ours which do not have the political backing that (Leviste) enjoys.”

They were alluding to Leviste’s alleged influence in Congress, being a son of Sen. Loren Legarda.

SPB “only targets areas where consumers complain about electricity,” Leviste said. “If, instead of trying to prevent competition, utilities focused on lowering costs and improving service, then Filipinos would be satisfied with their electric service, and there’d be no need for us at all.”

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TAGS: Business, solar

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