Solar Para Sa Bayan Corp. (SPSB) is calling on other electric firms to apply for a solar microgrid franchise after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11357 into law on July 31, allowing SPSB to operate microgrids in remote and unviable, unserved or underserved areas in the country.
SPSB owner Leandro Leviste, who is also the son of former senator and now Antique Representative Loren Legarda, said their franchise’s approval is a way for other electric firms to have the same opportunity.
“There are business groups that are planning to file their own franchises. Hopefully, this paves the way for more competitive power industry for everyone. In fact, there was already one. We hope this will be a new market that many will be able to participate [in],” Leviste was quoted in a BusinessMirror report.
He added that many solar companies were applying for the same franchise bill, and that SPSB has been organizing open forums to aid the said firms.
“We wish to extend an olive branch to those who once opposed this bill, for us to support the [Department of Energy’s] goal of achieving 100-percent electrification and ending energy poverty in the Philippines by 2022. It is time for us to join forces and work together for the common good,” Leviste added.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and Department of Energy (DOE) both endorsed the bill despite concerns coming from industry players and concerned entities.
Issues of monopolizing the industry arose, which Leviste addressed.
“It’s nonexclusive and, in fact, has a provision in the franchise that it is without prejudice to the rights of others who operate, even for those without a similar franchise,” Leviste said.
“If encroaching means giving 24-hour electricity to people who never watch TV or turned on their electric fans then yes, we are very glad to encroach in their franchise areas, and do things that they have failed to do themselves,” he added.