MANILA, Philippines --- House leaders asked the Aquino government yesterday to exercise its "political will" in addressing the rotating brownouts in Luzon by ensuring the full-blown implementation of the more than three-year old renewable energy law.
Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara and Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone challenged the government to resolve the problem by keeping an eye on the full-swing implementation of Republic Act 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act.
They also pressed on the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to address the issues hounding the proposed Feed-In Tariff (FIT), which according to them stalls the implementation of the renewable energy law.
FIT is a tariff scheme which provides incentives to local and foreign investors who intend to pour in resources in the country's renewable energy program.
"We should enforce the renewable energy law and for it to be enforced fully, political will is needed," Angara said, citing the need to further explore the renewable sources of energy, including the geothermal, solar, wind, hydroelectric and biomass.
The government was only able to tap 35 percent of the country's renewable sources of energy.
Angara lamented that the ERC has been sitting on the FIT proposal, which provides for the payment of renewable energy developers depending on the energy that they will inject into the transmission or distribution system. Since the signing of the Renewable Energy Act in Dec., 2008, the FIT policy regime has long been stalled.
"We don't realize the value that we are sitting on," Angara stressed, believing that the FIT would attract more investments for the energy sector and would pave the way for cheaper power rates.
In 2009, the ERC, along with National Renewable Energy Board, was expected to come up with rules for the tariff scheme.
Evardone said the government should "hasten the resolution" of the FIT issue, which he said, has been long pending before the desk of ERC.
"It (energy problem) really remains a challenge for the government. I agree with Congressman Angara that it needs political will," he said.
He even cited that the non-implementation of such traffic scheme was due to the lobbying "between those existing power producers and the proponents of alternative energy."
"The existing power producers want to protect their interests from the new players which are for alternative energy program," he disclosed.
Last June 22, some parts of Luzon experienced one-hour rotating brownouts. Power interruptions were experienced in San Pascual, Batangas; parts of Malolos, San Ildefonso, San Rafael; parts of Quiapo, Sampaloc, Sta. Cruz and Tondo in Manila; parts of Bacoor, Dasmarinas, General Trias, Imus and Kawit in Cavite; and parts of Caloocan, Las Pinas, Pasig, Quezon City, Balintawak.
The National Grid Corp. of Philippines disclosed that the Luzon grid has "thin" power supply reserves at only 101 megawatts, which fired up rotating brownouts in some parts of the region.