The Philippine Rural Electric Cooperative Association (PHILRECA) criticized the passage of Solar Para sa Bayan’s franchise bill, backing Senator Sherwin Gatchalian’s assertion that the measure would negatively impact the energy sector.
In his objection speech, Gatchalian, who is the senate chair of the Committee on Energy, said that the bicameral report on the ratification of the bill had unclear amendments such as the definition of an underserved area as areas “where electricity services have been interrupted at least twelve (12) times in the twelve (12) months preceding the date of the determination that such area is underserved.”
“There is no basis for the frequency of interruptions indicated in the bicameral report. Currently, the standard for the frequency of interruptions is determined by the Energy Regulatory Commission and is updated regularly,” Gatchalian was quoted as saying.
“To legislate a regulatory parameter would tie the hands of the regulator and would substitute our unfounded judgment for their expertise,” he added.
Gatchalian also noted that the bicameral report did not include definitions for the “interruptions.” He clarified that a number of factors could affect and result in frequency interruptions, most of which cannot be controlled by distribution utilities.
“A distribution utility can have interruptions because of fluctuations of solar power plants, typhoons, and even shortage of supply leading to red alerts. As such, to legislate a low and unfounded bar for an area to be considered underserved would be a disservice not only to the community but would be unfair to the franchised distribution utility,” he said.
PHILRECA echoed the sentiments of Gatchalian with a public post on their Facebook page. Power Philippines has reached out to PHILRECA for comment.