Higher renewable energy rate bucked

by Alena Mae S. Flores, 27 March 2015
from Manila Standard Today

Consumer advocacy group CitizenWatch has joined the call to stop the implementation of the feed-in tariff allowance, or FIT-ALL, which translates into an additional P0.0406 per kilowatt-hour charge on power consumers to encourage the production of renewable energy.

CitizenWatch sought Thursday a temporary restraining order with the Supreme Court against the implementation of FIT-ALL

“We are not against the use of renewable energy and are in fact encouraging its use as an alternative source. What we are questioning is the manner in which FIT-ALL is being collected and how the money will be spent,” said Tim Abejo, CitizenWatch co-convenor in a statement.

The FIT-ALL took effect in January this year. It was conceptualized to offset the high development costs of developing cleaner renewable energy, provide investors with extra financial cushion and guarantee the recovery of their capital in a reasonable amount of time.

“But it is as if we are saying to investors, ‘Your risk is guaranteed.’ With the current set-up of the collection scheme, this is equivalent to collecting money without a purpose. This makes it unconstitutional,” Abejo said.

Abejo said the characteristic of the FIT-ALL made it similar to the Priority Development Assistant Fund, or PDAF, which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional.

“This is very dangerous, because it gives the collecting agency a free hand on how to spend the money without prior guidelines on where and how the money shall be disbursed,” he said.

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