By Minerva Newman
CEBU CITY – The Department of Energy (DOE) recently issued Department Circular No. 2020-04-00080, laying down the rules of the use of communities’ share in electricity sales for hosting power projects under the Energy Regulations 1-94 (ER-1-94) Program funds.
It was a policy under the DOE Act of 1992 and the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) which stipulated that host communities will get a share of one centavo for every kilowatt-hour (P0.01/kWh) generated by power plants operating in its area.
According to the EPIRA law, the fund can be used by host beneficiaries for the electrification of areas or households that have no access to power; development and livelihood programs; as well as reforestation, watershed management, health, and environmental enhancement initiatives.
With the new circular covering ER 1-94 funds, the host LGUs can now use these shares to help manage the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis, in accordance with the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” which includes the facilitation of mass testing by providing and constructing facilities as well as acquiring proper medical testing kits.
AboitizPower welcomed the move of the DOE to allow host LGU communities to use these revenue shares (ER 1-94 funds) from these facilities for COVID-19 response programs, according to AboitizPower president/CEO Emmanuel Rubio.
According to Rubio, the development was a push in the right direction as it is expected to aid in strengthening local government response to the ongoing health crisis.
“We stand ready to collaborate with them and our local government units (LGUs) to facilitate the quick disbursement of these funds in the fight against COVID-19,” he added.
Rubio bared that various AboitizPower business units, in partnership with Aboitiz Foundation have been aiding their host beneficiaries amid the pandemic situation. The ER 1-94 funds will augment these efforts for LGUs to have enough resources in their fight against COVID-19.
AboitizPower is currently downloading to over 130 host beneficiaries across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao some P146 million worth of funds generated from the ER 1-94 as of December 25, 2019.
Another P338 million from various AboitizPower-led generating companies accumulated as of 2018, are also currently being remitted by DOE to the host beneficiaries.
Rubio said that this was the group’s contribution to the government in its efforts to ensure that all LGUs have enough resources to help contain, mitigate, and eventually eliminate the spread of COVID-19 in their areas.