Supreme Court TRO ap­pli­ca­tion filed against re­new­able en­ergy law

Business World - - THE ECONOMY - Vic­tor V. Saulon

THE Supreme Court has been asked to is­sue a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der (TRO) against the re­new­able en­ergy law amid claims some of its pro­vi­sions are un­law­ful, specif­i­cally those on re­new­able port­fo­lio stan­dards (RPS) and the feed-in-tar­iff (FiT) sys­tem.

The pe­ti­tioner, Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Te­knolo­hiya para sa Ma­ma­mayan (Agham), said con­sumers should be con­cerned about the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the law — Repub­lic Act No. 9513, which pro­motes the de­vel­op­ment, uti­liza­tion and com­mer­cial­iza­tion of re­new­able en­ergy (RE) re­sources.

In a state­ment, the group said based on its study, con­sumers will pay P821 bil­lion dur­ing the 20 years that the pri­vate sec­tor has been given to de­velop re­new­able en­ergy.

“Re­new­able en­ergy and nat­u­ral en­ergy sources such as so­lar en­ergy, wind and hy­dro-elec­tric are in­deed good op­tions. But why would we cook our­selves in our own fat?” it said.

“RE de­vel­op­ers un­der the cur­rent set- up are as­sured of min­i­mum to zero- risk in their in­vest­ments due to the in­cen­tives given to them at the ex­pense of elec­tric­ity con­sumers,” said An­gelo B. Pal­mones, Agham’s leader.

The group said some pri­vately owned com­pa­nies may earn in the long run but con­sumers will pay for the in­cen­tives. It also said asked whether it is jus­ti­fied to al­low the com­pa­nies to im­pose ad­di­tional charges con­sid­er­ing the added tax bur­den brought about by the Repub­lic Act 10963 or the Tax Re­form for Ac­cel­er­a­tion and In­clu­sion (TRAIN) law.

The FiT sys­tem of­fers guar­an­teed pay­ments on a fixed rate per kilowatt-hour ( kWh) for 20 years for emerg­ing re­new­able en­ergy sources, ex­clud­ing power gen­er­a­tion for the de­vel­op­ers own use.

RPS is a mar­ket-based pol­icy that re­quires elec­tric­ity sup­pli­ers to source an agreed por­tion of their en­ergy sup­ply from el­i­gi­ble re­new­able en­ergy re­sources. It is called for un­der the RE law.

Sought for com­ment, Sen. Sher­win T. Gatchalian, who chairs the cham­ber’s en­ergy com­mit­tee, said: “If the courts will ren­der the FiT un­con­sti­tu­tional, that would cre­ate prob­lems in the fu­ture of RE be­cause the in­vestors were count­ing on the in­cen­tives that we’re giv­ing. So in view it’s the rep­u­ta­tion of the coun­try that is in ques­tion here be­cause they came in be­cause we promised them in­cen­tives,” he said.

“RPS it’s not be­ing im­ple­mented it, so if they want to ques­tion the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of it, it’s a pos­si­ble move in be­half of the pe­ti­tion­ers,” he added.

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