By Myrna M. Velasco – October 23, 2019, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has amended the net metering rules for the renewable energy (RE) sector, primarily to simplify the permitting procedures for end-users that are interested to become part of the program.
Through the net metering paradigm, Filipino end-users would get that chance to become “prosumers” – or that system wherein they can generate electricity for their own use then inject their surplus capacity to the grid.
The RE sector first came with the metering rules in 2013, but such frame of regulation then was perceived to be “highly restrictive,” hence, the prospective participants constantly batted for modifications in the rules.
In a statement to the media, ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera emphasized that “the amended net metering rules address the concerns raised by various stakeholders,” primarily those on permitting processes.
At the same time, the ERC chief indicated that the installation cost had been reduced so that the base of participants in the RE’s net metering program could substantially expand. On processing timeline for connection-applications, distribution utilities had been directed for a maximum 20 days “to complete the whole interconnection process from receipt of the letter-of-interest.”
The main condition there, according to the ERC, is for the applicant providing and securing all the requisite permits and licenses from various concerned agencies.
The ERC has not specified though how much overall reduction had been enforced on the connection fees that interested net metering participants must pay for – because in the veritable form of the program, that could vary depending on the distribution utilities’ rules and policies. In general though, it was noted that from a higher connection fee of ₧20,000; this had been down now to the level of ₧5,000.
In particular, the industry regulator also emphasized that the fee for the conduct of distribution impact study (DIS) as well as other related soft costs had already been removed.
“The ERC has considered that the conduct of DIS is a regular activity of the DU to ensure the reliability and stability of the distribution system,” the Commission said, thus, it deemed that it is already unnecessary “to impose additional charges for its conduct.”
Further, the pricing methodology in the modified net metering rules opted to maintain the DUs’ blended generation cost, but it excludes other generation adjustments.