The Department of Energy (DOE) reported that it was able to disburse Php4.16 billion from various power generation companies (gencos), through the Energy Regulations No. 1-94 (ER1-94) Funds, to their respective host local government units (LGUs) in support of their fight against COVID-19.
“At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in the country, we have issued Department Circular (DC) No. DC2020-04-0008, to help host LGUs by making available ER 1-94 Funds to be used in their fight against the pandemic, in accordance with Republic Act 11469, or the ‘Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,’” Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi said in a statement.
“The DOE has successfully implemented and monitored the direct remittance of the financial benefits to host communities [and regions] to ensure that ER 1-94 Funds are utilized immediately for their development needs and for the delivery of essential health services to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the crisis,” he added.
The ER 1-94 program is a policy under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA), which stipulates that host communities will get a share of one centavo for every kilowatt-hour (Php0.01/kWh) of the total electricity sales of gencos operating in its area. Through DOE Department Circular No. DC2018-08-0021, power generation companies are now allowed to directly download the ER 1-94 funds to their host communities. Streamlining the release of funding will ease the process of implementing projects that benefit the host communities.
Also as of 30 September 2020, initial reports received by the DOE showed that at least Php462 million were directly remitted by the concerned Generation Companies to the host LGUs for their immediate utilization for COVID-19 related responses.
While the country was placed on various stages of lockdowns, the ER 1-94 Funds were immediately utilized for a) feeding programs, including the provision of relief goods; b) acquisition of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline medical workers, medical and other decontamination and disinfecting supplies and equipment including alcohol disinfectants, sanitizers, common medicines, thermo-scanners and contactless thermometers, respirators and/or ventilators, UV Lights; and c) for constructing or leasing of medical facilities, tents, safe holding areas, including quarantine centers.
The DOE aims to transfer an additional Php278 million in ER1-94 Funds to various host communities before the year ends.
Photo courtesy: AboitizPower/Therma Visayas, Inc.