PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill streamlining the permitting process of power generation, transmission, and distribution projects in the country.
Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) 11234, or the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop Act, to ensure the "quality, reliability and security of energy at reasonable cost."
Under the law, the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (Evoss) is established to allow the coordinated submission and synchronous processing of all required data and information.
The Evoss is mandated to act on applications for permits or certifications necessary for, or related to, an application of a proponent for new power generation, transmission, or distribution projects.
It is also tasked to ensure the "secure and accessible paperless" processing of documentary requirements, assessment and payment of charges and fees, status updates and progress monitoring, not only for applicants but also for national and local government offices and entities involved in the permitting process of energy generation projects.
The one-stop shop will be managed and maintained by the Department of Energy while its operations will be determined and monitored by the Evoss steering committee, which will be led by the Office of the President.
All government agencies involved are required to follow a strict timeframe to act on pending applications, in a bid to further speed up the process.
Failure of an agency to act within the prescribed time frame will result in the automatic approval of said application and potential administrative sanctions against inefficient public officers to penalize the delay.
Meantime, private entities, such as the system operator and market operator, who fail to act within the prescribed timeframe will have to pay a fine of P100,000 per day of delay.
Senate energy committee chair Sherwin Gatchalian earlier estimated that the downwind effects of the newly-signed law could reduce consumer electricity prices by as much as P1 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in the long run.
With an average household consumption rate of 200 kWh per month, he noted that this would result in savings of P2,400 per household every year.
RA 11234 was signed by the President on March 8, but was released to the media just on Thursday, March 14. (SunStar Philippines)