Online energy one-stop shop signed into law

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ELECTRICITY costs are seen to go down with the new law signed by President Duterte modernizing and streamlining the permitting process behind power infrastructure projects.

With the creation and establishment of an online platform called the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (Evoss), prospective developers can apply, monitor and receive all the needed permits and applications, submit all documentary requirements and even pay for charges and fees.

Under Republic Act 11234 signed on March 8, Evoss will also be managed and maintained by the Department of Energy (DOE) while its operations will be determined and monitored by the Evoss Steering Committee, chaired by the President.

To further speed up the process, the landmark anti-red tape measure also requires government agencies to follow a strict time frame to act on pending applications, with a warning that failure of an agency to act within the prescribed time frame will result in the automatic approval of such application and potential administrative sanctions against inefficient public officers to penalize the delay.

Private entities which also fail to act within the prescribed time frame will be slapped with a P100,000 fine per day of delay.

Moreover, foreign investors with the capacity to build cutting-edge power plants will be encouraged to enter the market and stimulate competition in the Philippine energy generation industry, according to its principal author Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian

The increased competition would then drive down generation costs.

Gatchalian has estimated that the reduced generation costs could result in the reduction of consumer electricity prices by as much as P0.35 per kilowatt-hour. Pegged at the average household consumption rate of 200 kWh per month, this would result in savings of P840 per household every year.

For the initial implementation of the law, P100 million shall be charged against the current year’s appropriations of the DOE; and thereafter, such amounts may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

The DOE, in consultation with the relevant government agencies and industry stakeholders, shall promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of this Act within 60 days from its effectivity.

The Act shall take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of a general circulation.