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Supreme Court TRO application filed against renewable energy law

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PHILSTAR

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. — Victor V. Saulon