Microgrid Systems Act pushed to boost 100% electrification bid

Published by rudy Date posted on May 6, 2019

By: Daphne Galvez, INQUIRER.net, May 06, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is seeking to spur the microgrid system development in unserved and underserved areas across the country in line with the government’s target of 100 percent electrification in rural areas by 2022.

Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 2218, or the Microgrid Systems Act in a bid to provide reliable electric services to households nationwide and accelerate total electrification in areas with no access to electricity, no distribution system lines, no home power systems, or no connection to any microgrid.

“The government has stated that total electrification in unserved areas cannot be done by traditional grid extension alone and that non-traditional means – such as microgrid systems – are needed,” Gatchalian said in a statement on Monday.

“What we will do is to allow proponents to put up microgrids. These microgrids will be self-sustaining, meaning they will be producing as well as distributing power,” he added.

He said the bill paves the way for the installation of microgrid systems by accredited Microgrid Service Providers (MSPs).

Gatchalian explained that the measure mandates the Department of Energy (DOE) to annually release and update the list of unserved and underserved areas for prospective MSPs.

The bill also creates a streamlined process for MSPs with clear timelines and stiff sanctions for bureaucratic red tape and delay.

It likewise removes the requirement of obtaining waivers from incumbent franchised utilities for MSPs to provide electricity in unserved and underserved areas.

Under the measure, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is also tasked to determine the benchmark prices instead of its traditional review of contracts.

Gatchalian noted that the proposed bill will allow generation companies, distribution utilities, retail electricity suppliers, or their subsidiaries or affiliates to engage in the business of MSPs, provided that a separate account is maintained for such.

“If we want to achieve 100-percent household electrification by 2022, we need to look for other technologies. Let’s improve the process of electrification,” the senator said. /gsg

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