Senator wants red tape in energy projects cut in half

By Myrna M. Velasco – December 30, 2016, 10:00 PM

from Manila Bulletin

Through a legislative measure, Senate Committee on Energy Chairman Sherwin T. Gatchalian is working on fast-tracking approvals of energy projects – with the timelines cut in half from currently at average 1,340 days based on the experience of players in the hydropower sector.

“It is estimated that we could cut the 1,340-day waiting period in half. Certainly, this would be a game-changer in the energy sector, serving as a catalyst for speedier development and enhanced stability across the entire energy sector through coordinated and responsive regulatory mechanisms,” he said.

Gatchalian divulged “my team and I are currently in the process of drafting landmark legislation to institutionalize a virtual express “one-stop shop” for energy project approvals.

The lawmaker noted that he is building on the Electronic Virtual One Stop Shop (EVOSS) that the Department of Energy (DOE) had adopted primarily for renewable energy service contracts – and in which duration of project approval processes had been halved to 21 days from originally at 45. This undertaking is in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“Instead of having to run through the hectic labyrinth of departments, agencies and other government offices, persons interested in undertaking power infrastructure projects will be able to complete all of their regulatory requirements through a single e-portal,” Gatchalian said.

He stressed “I have made it one of my legislative priorities to institute anti-red tape reforms which will streamline the entire energy regulatory framework, starting with the permits and licensing process.”