A bill intending to accelerate the country’s total electrification is now up for discussion in the bicameral conference committee to iron out details before sending it to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law.
This comes following the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 1928 or the proposed Microsystems Grid Act on third and final reading on Monday. Prior to this, the House of Representatives passed its version of the measure in November 2020.
Under SB 1928, microgrid systems providers will be allowed to operate in any area where there is no electricity access or where the power connection does not provide 24/7 electricity supply.
“One of the goals of this bill is to clearly identify the processes and reduce red tape so that we employ and encourage the private sector to come in, use private capital and help the government to roll out its total electrification plan,” Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said in a statement.
“This bill is meant to address the legal gaps as well as policy gaps in terms of the nationwide total electrification program of the government. The Department of Energy’s self-imposed 2022 deadline is fast approaching. It is a daunting task indeed but it can become significantly more feasible with the passage of this legislation,” he added.
Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and SB 1928’s author, hopes the bill would be ratified by both houses of Congress before the 18th Congress adjourns next year.
A miniature-scale version of a large main grid, microgrid systems are well-suited to electrify unserved and underserved areas in the absence of main grid connection or insufficiency of supply due to specific reasons related to quality of service.
Underserved areas, meanwhile, are those that do not enjoy 24-hour access to electricity due to various reasons while the unserved are those with no electricity access at all.
“By 2022, hopefully, lahat ay mayroon nang kuryente sa kani-kanilang mga bahay dito sa bansa. This is a tall order considering that we are an archipelagic country and that’s why the committee sees it fit to use new technology and innovative technologies such as the microgrid and the use of private capital to reach total electrification by 2022,” the senator said.