Left In The Dark: Consumers In “Brownout Provinces” Yearns For House Bill 8179

The Department of Energy (DOE) says that 12 million Filipinos across the country still lack access to electricity. For this reason, options for new choices in electricity are being considered by almost all demographics in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Left behind in darkness

Poor health and education, more criminality, and lower incomes are alarming results of no electricity according to a World Bank study. In addition to millions who suffer total lack of electricity, as stated by the DOE, millions more are still deprived of 24/7 access to it.

30 of the poorest provinces in the country are also among those 30 places with the most brownouts.

A door for new options: The Solar Para Sa Bayan Franchise

Source: Freepik

Groups such as “100% Brownout-Free Occidental Mindoro,” “Bantay PALECO” of Palawan, “Concerned Akelco Consumers” of Aklan have already organized campaigns that sought the government to solve electricity problems.

In Puerto Princesa City, a legal complaint was filed ordering PALECO to stop the “power interruptions” that occurs “more than twice a day,” noting that it has “not taken any tangible step to remedy the situation, despite it being a recurring and worsening problem since 2009.”

In a Pulse Asia survey, 82 percent of Filipinos favor new options for electric service.

The Solar Para Sa Bayan Franchise

The success of the Solar Para Sa Bayan’s largest Solar-Battery Microgid in Southeast Asia prompts local governments to new electricity options.

The town of Paluan, Occidental Mindoro that suffered brownouts before claims that they are now brownout free because of the SPSB.

With the speed and viability of solar microgrids, SPSB believes they can help the DOE achieve its goal of 100% percent electrification for the whole country by 2022.

Source: Freepik

When the House Bill 8179 becomes law, SPSB will have a non-exclusive right to operate microgrids in “remote and unviable, or unserved or underserved areas in selected provinces of the Philippines.”

The bill’s final version incorporates inputs of industry stakeholders to make sure that the franchise strictly obeys with complete compliance to all regulations of (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) EPIRA and the constitution. Upon signing, the SPSB is also expected to respect all existing franchises and allow the DOE and Energy Regulatory Commission to impose further safeguards

Source: Freepik

Paluan Electric Consumers Association representative Jeffrey Huertas appealed to those in position “to look past self-serving positions of electric coops who wish to prevent the entry of competition, and companies who do not even know what it’s like in areas with inadequate electricity.” He added that they trust that the government will “choose what is good for consumers who are benefiting from the service of SPSB, and allow other towns to enjoy a new choice for electricity by approving House Bill 8179.”

Source: Manila Bulletin