SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives unanimously passed on third and final reading House Bill 8629 or the proposed "Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act," which seeks to encourage the efficient utilization of energy and ensure that its use will promote sustainable development.
All 199 House Members present during the voting thumbed up HB 8629 whose authors include former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The bill aims to push for the judicious conservation of energy resources to minimize their adverse impacts on the environment.
It intends to be instrumental in achieving the government’s objective to spur economic activity, and therefore, growth.
It 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.
Thus, 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 Congress on the status of the implementation, among others.
Energy efficient projects shall be included in the Strategic Investments Priorities Plan (SIPP) of the government during the 15 years from the approval of the measure. These programs shall also be entitled to receive a certificate from the Fiscal Incentives Review Board.
The 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.
In addition, establishments implementing these programs shall also be entitled to the following incentives: (a) awards and recognition for energy efficiency and conservation best practices, innovation and successful energy-efficient projects and products, and (b) technical assistance from government agencies in the development and promotion of energy efficient technologies.
The DOE and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) shall develop and implement a system of certification and assessment for energy conservation officers and energy managers to raise the professional standards of those engaged in energy management. Qualified individuals shall earn the title of Certified Energy Efficiency and Conservation Officer (CEECO).
The bill also directs the DOE to strengthen the existing Energy Service Company (ESCO) Accreditation System for the market to have technically and financially capable entities that can provide assistance in the delivery of energy efficiency-related projects.
The DOE shall require all manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers of energy-consuming goods to subject their 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 help consumers in choosing energy efficient appliances and raise public awareness on energy conservation.
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.
The DOE shall be authorized to impose penalties for any violation of the provisions of the proposed Act, including its implementing rules and regulations, with fines ranging from P10,000 to P10 million.
The Joint Congressional Power Commission, which was established 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.
Among the other authors of the bill are 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), Gus Tambunting (2nd District, Parañaque City), Luis Raymund "LRay" Villafuerte Jr. (2nd District, Camarines Sur), former Rep. Harry Roque, Jr., and the late Rep. Henedina Abad. | Molie Gonzales