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Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act approved by Senate

BGC, TAGUIG CITY, Philippines – Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi test drives the first ever electric-powered “Green Jeepney” at the Bonifacio Global City during its launching on 20 July 2017. A DOE press release said the technology runs on electricity as fuel and will be 30 percent less costly than using diesel, which resonates with the provisions on Senator Win Gatchalian’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act of 2018 (Senate Bill 1531) that aims to institutionalizing a framework to advance energy efficiency and conservation practices in the country. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Senator Win Gatchalian on Monday hailed the Senate’s approval on third and final reading of a measure institutionalizing a framework to advance energy efficiency and conservation practices in the country, aiming to make the national energy supply more sustainable, stable, and affordable.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act of 2018 (Senate Bill 1531) lays down a solid foundation for a comprehensive energy efficiency and conservation policy that would mandate the efficient and judicious use of energy resources and promote the development and utilization of both new and alternative sources of energy efficient technologies and systems.

“We are helping shape the consciousness of our consumers, including the government, through a change in the policy regime regulating energy consumption. The strategies detailed in this measure are all poised to provide not only savings for the government but also more money in people’s pockets,” he said.

Gatchalian, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and  principal sponsor of the measure, said that if the country’s energy efficiency reaches half as the energy efficiency of Germany – considered as one among the most energy efficient countries in the world – then the country can achieve an estimated savings of around P1.6-trillion from a period of 2018 to 2030 or P126.4-billion average annually.

Reaching fully-similar energy efficiency standards with that of Germany could result, on the other hand, to an estimated savings of P420-billion yearly or around P5.5-trillion on the same period.

The measure mandates the creation of a National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan that defines national targets, details feasible strategies, and imposes a regular monitoring and evaluation system. Alongside this will be the development and maintenance of a National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Database, where relevant information about energy consumption as well as the application of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies shall be centrally stored.

The measure would also institutionalize these energy efficiency and conservation standards and strategies in local governance through the creation of a Local Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan and the inclusion of Guidelines on Energy Conserving Design on Buildings in the issuance of building permits.

To further encourage complete compliance to the energy standards to be proposed, the senator added that the measure would include incentives as well as technical assistance from government agencies.

The bill would also create an Inter-Agency Energy Efficiency and Conservation Committee that will be tasked to provide strategic directions in the implementation of the Government Energy Management Program (GEMP), a program to reduce monthly consumption of electricity and petroleum products by the government.

“We sincerely thank our colleagues for their support. With its passage today, we are moving yet another step forward towards realizing efficient ways of utilizing energy in the country that are attuned to acceptable international standards,” Gatchalian said.

Once ratified, the Department of Energy (DOE) shall be the lead government agency tasked to ensure the proper implementation of this measure.