Senate OKs national energy efficiency bill on 3rd reading

The Senate, voting 18-0 on Monday, approved on third and final reading a bill creating a “comprehensive framework for energy efficiency and conservation” to serve as an alternative approach to ensure “sustainable, stable and affordable” power supply.

Its principal author, Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian, said Senate Bill (SB) 1532, to be known as the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act of 2018, was crafted to advance energy efficiency and conservation practices in the country.

In moving for its approval, Gatchalian said the proposed law “lays down the foundation for a comprehensive energy-efficiency and -conservation policy that would mandate the efficient and judicious use of energy resources, and promote the development and utilization of both new and alternative sources of energy-efficient technologies and systems.”

He added:  “We are helping shape the consciousness of our consumers, including the government, through a change in the policy regime regulating energy consumption. The strategies detailed in this measure are all poised to provide not only savings for the government, but also more money in people’s pockets.”

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy, estimates that, if the country’s energy efficiency reaches half as the energy efficiency of Germany—considered as among the most energy-efficient countries in the world—the Philippines can achieve savings of around P1.6 trillion from a period of 2018 to 2030, or a P126.4 billion average annually.

“Reaching fully similar energy efficiency standards with that of Germany could result, on the other hand, to an estimated savings of P420 billion yearly or around P5.5 trillion on the same period,” he added.

The approved SB 1532 mandates the creation of a National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan defining national targets, details feasible strategies  and imposes a regular monitoring and evaluation system, the lawmaker said, adding, “Alongside this will be the development and maintenance of a National Energy Efficiency and Conservation database, where relevant information about energy consumption, as well as the application of energy-efficient and renewable-energy technologies shall be centrally stored.”

Gatchalian said the remedial legislation would also institutionalize these energy-efficiency and -conservation standards and strategies in local governance through the creation of a Local Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan, and the inclusion of Guidelines on Energy Conserving Design on Buildings in the issuance of building permits.

“To further encourage complete compliance to the energy standards to be proposed,” he added, “the measure would include incentives, as well as technical assistance from government agencies.”

At the same time, the proposed law would create an Inter-Agency Energy Efficiency and Conservation Committee tasked to provide strategic directions in the implementation of the Government Energy Management Program, a program aiming to reduce monthly consumption of electricity and petroleum products by the government.

“We sincerely thank our colleagues for their support. With its passage today, we are moving yet another step forward toward realizing efficient ways of utilizing energy in the country that are attuned to acceptable international standards,” Gatchalian said.

Upon its enactment into law, the senator added that the Department of Energy shall be the lead government agency tasked to ensure the proper implementation of the measure.



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