Bill expedites grant of permits to power projects, cuts monthly electricity rates

A proposed law seeking to modernize and streamline the grant of permits to energy-generation projects in the country could reduce consumer electricity prices by as much as P1 per kilowatt hour (kWh).
Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and principal author of Senate Bill 1439, the Energy Virtual One Stop Shop (Evoss) Act of 2017, said on Wednesday that the measure has been  approved on second reading.

The bill seeks to establish a technology- and operations-management software platform for all government entities to promote a unified permitting system. This system, to be supervised by the Department of Energy, will improve coordination between entities and provide easier access to all information necessary to apply for new energy-generation projects.

The Evoss Act also aims to eliminate overlapping mandates in documentary submissions. The lawmaker said this is one of the main factors contributing to the lengthy application process.

“The permitting process to get a power plant off the ground takes as long as three and a half years. This legislation will eradicate the red tape in the process, which impedes the increase of the country’s energy supply. Ultimately, the Evoss Act is projected to drive down electricity costs and provide significant savings to electricity consumers,”  Gatchalian said.

The senator explained that the elimination of red tape would allow foreign investors the capacity to build cutting-edge power plants to enter the market and stimulate competition in the Philippine generation industry. The increased competition would then drive down generation costs and provide significant savings to Filipino households.

He estimates that the downwind effects of the EVOSS Act could reduce consumer electricity prices by as much as P1 per kWh. Pegged at the average household consumption rate of 200 kWh per month, this would result in savings of P2,400 per household every year.

“Essentially, the EVOSS Act will benefit working class Filipino families in the long run by reducing their monthly electricity bills, which will give them more money to pay for day-to-day living expenses such as food, shelter, medicine, and education,” Gatchalian said.