General & Misc

Energy Conservation Bill hurdles Second Reading

Date: 03 December 2018; Type: Legal News; Source: House of Representatives

The House of Representatives approved on second reading House Bill 8629 or the proposed "Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act" which seeks to encourage the efficient utilization of energy as well as ensure that its use will promote sustainable development.

Former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is among the authors of the bill which seeks to promote the judicious conservation of energy resources while minimizing their adverse impacts on the environment. It also intends to ultimately achieve the goal of the government to spur economic activity, and therefore, growth.

The bill seeks to mandate the Department of Energy (DOE) to lead the development and implementation of plans and programs to secure the stability and sufficiency of energy supply in the country, which shall cushion the impact of the high price of imported fuels to local markets.

With this, the DOE shall undertake the following functions: (a) update the development of the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan (NEECP) and monitor its implementation; (b) initiate and maintain collaborative efforts with the business sector to ensure their compliance; (c) support Local Government Units (LGUs) in planning, promoting, and implementing the programs and in preparing their Local Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plans (LEECP); (d) develop a national awareness and advocacy campaign; and (e) provide annual reports to the Congress on the status of the implementation, among others.

There shall be a system of certification and assessment for energy conservation officers and energy managers toward raising the professional standards of those engaged in energy management, which will be developed by the DOE and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Qualified individuals shall earn the title of Certified Energy Efficiency and Conservation Officer (CEECO).

The measure also directs the DOE to strengthen the existing Energy Service Company (ESCO) Accreditation System to be able to provide the market with technically and financially capable entities that can assist in the delivery of energy efficiency-related projects.

The DOE shall call on all manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers to subject their energy-consuming products to an energy performance testing in accordance with the Minimum Energy Performance (MEP) guidelines to be issued by the DOE to ensure the effective implementation of energy efficiency and conservation.

The DOE shall also be mandated to develop and enforce a Mandatory Energy Efficiency Rating and Labeling (MEERL) for energy-consuming products to provide assistance for consumers in choosing energy efficient appliances as well as raise public awareness on energy saving.

In addition, the DOE, with the assistance of the Energy Regulatory Commission, shall also pursue a Demand Side Management (DSM) Program for the electric power industry to reduce energy consumption through effective load management.

During the 15 years from the approval of the measure, energy efficient projects shall be included in the Strategic Investments Priorities Plan (SIPP) of the government. These programs shall also be entitled to receive a certificate from the Fiscal Incentives Review Board.

These duly certified energy efficient project proponents shall be exempted from income taxes levied by the national government for the first six years of their commercial operations. Additional investments in these projects shall allow further income tax exemption.

Aside from these, establishments implementing these programs shall also be entitled to the following incentives: (a) provision of awards and recognition for energy efficiency and conservation best practices, innovation and successful energy-efficient projects and products; and (b) provision of technical assistance from government agencies in the development and promotion of energy efficient technologies.

Meanwhile, the DOE shall be authorized to impose penalties for any violation of the Act, as well as its implementing rules and regulations, with fines ranging from P10,000 to P10 million.

The Joint Congressional Power Commission created under Section 62 of Republic Act 9136 or the “Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001” shall exercise oversight functions over the implementation of this measure upon its effectivity.

The bill is also authored by Reps. Eric Olivarez (1st District, Parañaque City), Rodel Batocabe (Party-list, AKO BICOL), Yedda Marie Romualdez (1st District, Leyte), Reynaldo Umali (2nd District, Oriental Mindoro), Henedina Abad (Lone District, Batanes), Gus Tambunting (2nd District, Parañaque City), Luis Raymund "LRay" Villafuerte Jr. (2nd District, Camarines Sur) and former Rep. Harry Roque, Jr.

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