EEC substitute bill gets green light from House

The House committee on energy chaired by Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco (Lone District, Marinduque) today approved a draft substitute bill seeking to institutionalize energy efficiency and conservation, enhance the efficient use of energy, and grant incentives to EEC projects.

The unnumbered bill substituted House Bills 182, 812, 970, 1220, 1527, 2388, 2540 and 3040 authored by Reps. Eric Olivarez (1st District, ParaAaque City), Rodel Batocabe (Party-list, AKO Bicol), Yedda Marie Romualdez (1st District, Leyte), Reynaldo Umali (2nd District, Oriental Mindoro), Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga), Henedina Abad (Lone District, Batanes), Gus Tambunting (2nd District, Paranaque), and Harry Roque Jr. (Party-list, Kabayan), respectively.

Velasco said the approval of the bill was a welcome development, saying if people will push for ECC, most of the end-users would lessen their use of power which would eventually mean more available power for other sectors in the country.

The committee on energy is very happy for the passage of the bill mainly because we believe the ECC will help a lot in addressing the power problems in the country, said Velasco.

He said a similar bill in the upper chamber providing for fiscal incentives for ECC has already gone through the Senate committee on energy and committee on ways and means. When the bill passes third reading here in Congress, then most probably if there are differences in the House and Senate bills, then there will be a bicameral conference committee that will harmonize the said bills, he said.

Senate Bill 1531 titled Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act of 2017substituted SB 30 filed by Sen. Loren Legarda and SB 525 by Sen. Antonio Sonny Trillanes IV.

Hopefully if the EEC bill gets passed, we will try to push and request the President to sign it and enact it into law, said Velasco.

He said the most contentious provision of the substitute House bill is the grant of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives. But I think since the bill in the Senate has already hurdled the committee on ways and means, and committee on energy committee, then I'm sure said incentives would also pass in the House, said Velasco.

During the hearing, the committee approved the proposal of Department of Energy Director Patrick Aquino to replace Sections 21 and 22 of the draft House Bill with Sections 24 and 25 of SB 1531 pertaining to incentives for ECC projects.

The adopted Section 24 of SB 1531 titled Incentives provides that: Upon certification by the DOE, Energy Efficient Projects as defined in the Act shall be included in the annual investment priorities plan of the Board of Investments (BOI) and shall be entitled to the incentives provided under Executive Order 266 or the Omnibus Investment Code of the Philippines and any other applicable laws.

Section 25 titled Non-Fiscal Incentives provides that: Establishments that will implement or are implementing energy-efficient projects shall be entitled to the following:

a) Provision of awards and recognition for energy efficiency and conservation best practices innovation, and successful energy-efficient projects and products; and

b) Provision of technical assistance from government agencies in the development and promotion of energy-efficient technologies.

Rep. Reynaldo Umali (2nd District, Oriental Mindoro), head of the technical working group (TWG) which drafted the substitute bill, said the measure seeks to: (1) encourage the efficient use of energy and other modalities of demand side management; (2) ensure that energy is produced and utilized in a manner that will promote sustainable development to support the government's goal of spurring economic activity and growth; and (3) promote judicious conservation and efficient utilization of energy resources and minimize their negative impact on the environment.

In the pursuit of the foregoing objectives, it is imperative through that an enabling mechanism be established for both the government and private sectors to work together, which is also covered by the substitute bill, said Umali.

Umali, chairman of the committee on justice, said lawmakers are optimistic that with the staunch support and relentless advocacy of partners in both the government and the private sectors, the country will be able to institutionalize energy efficiency and conservation as a national way of life.

May our efforts towards the efficient and judicious utilization of energy never waver. Let us remain energetic and cooperative in formulating, developing, and implementing energy efficiency and conservation plans and programs to secure stability and sufficiency of energy supply in the country and cushion the impact of the high price of imported fuels on local markets. Always remember that we are all doing this to conserve our environment and to support the attainment of the socio-economic development goals of the government for the benefit of the Filipino people,said Umali.

During the second TWG meeting held last May 18, 2017, Umali said repsentatives from the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Commission on Audit (COA), Board of Investments (BOI) and the Philippine Energy Efficiency Alliance, Inc. (PE2) discussed the disagreeing provisions on the bill, particularly on the following:

1. The creation of an advisory council (which was replaced by the an Inter-agency Committee as proposed by Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga);

2. The off-the-balance sheet procurement of energy efficient programs/projects, which is said to be prohibited under the procurement law;

3. The joint position/comments of the DBM and COA; and

4. The certification from the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) as regards the P150 million energy efficiency trust fund that the DOE proposed to get from the Malampaya fund as initial fund.

On July 19, 2017, he said the TWG convened again to come up with a consensus position on certain provisions of the EEC measure and finalize the substitute bill on the EEC.

Source: House of Representatives