By Mario Casayuran
The chairman of the Senate energy committee said Friday the signing by President Duterte of the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (EVOSS) Act of 2017 into law heralds the rejuvenation of the energy sector.
“With this law in place, red tape in the energy sector will soon become a thing of the past as it promotes faster, simplified permitting process that would allow foreign and domestic investors with the capacity to build cutting-edge power plants to enter the market and stimulate competition in the Philippine energy generation industry,’’ Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, committee chairman, said.
“The increased competition would then drive down generation costs,’’ he explained.
With EVOSS, according to Gatchalian, ‘’we estimate that a decrease in generation costs could lead to reduction of consumer electricity prices by as much as P0.35 per kilowatt hour (kWh).’’
“For an average household with a consumption rate of 200 kWh per month, this would result in savings of P840 every year.”
Gatchalian said the EVOSS would be an online platform where potential power supply developers can “apply, monitor, and receive all the needed permits and applications, submit all documentary requirements, even pay for charges and fees.”
The Department of Energy (DOE) will be responsible in managing and maintaining the service.
“We are optimistic that this bill is poised to drive down electricity costs and provide significant savings to power consumers by modernizing and streamlining the permitting process behind power infrastructure projects,” Gatchalian said.
To speed up the process, all concerned government agencies will be required to follow a strict timeline to approve or disapprove all pending applications. Failure to do so will result in the automatic approval of such application and potential administrative penalties against inefficient public officers, the senator explained.
“On the other hand, private entities—the system operator and market operator—who fail to act within the prescribed time frame will be slapped with a P100,000 fine per day of delay,” he was quoted as saying.
Gatchalian added that eliminating the red tape in the permitting process “will remove a formidable barrier to entry that has often discouraged foreign firms from entering the generation market.’’
Evoss would result in a welcome bump in disposable income for the average Filipino family [as] we will be putting a lot of money back where it belongs—in the pockets of Filipino families struggling to pay their basic day-to-day expenses, he added.