Microgrid systems bill signed into law


Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that would promote microgrid systems to help accelerate the electrification of unserved and underserved areas in the country. 

Officially made into law on Friday, Republic Act 11646 or the Microgrid Systems Act aims to provide uninterrupted power in remote communities and at the same time prioritize cost-efficient, renewable, and environment-friendly power sources. 

Unserved areas are those with no electrical access, while underserved areas are those electrified by distribution utilities whose supply is less than 24 hours daily. 

Under the new law, a consolidation of House Bill 8203 and Senate Bill 1928, microgrid system providers (MGSPs) will not be required to secure a congressional franchise like that of private distribution utilities (DUs) and electric cooperatives. Instead, MGSPs would have to seek an authority to operate from the Energy Regulatory Commission.

Through a competitive selection process, MGSPs can provide power generation and distribution services in identified unserved and underserved areas of the Department of Energy, as well as identified unserved areas of DUs. 

In the event that there would be no participants or awarded MGSPs in the said areas, the National Power Corporation will perform a missionary electrification mandate until a microgrid system takes place. 

Over 2.3 million households in the country remain without access to electricity, based on data from the National Electrification Administration as of 2019.