THE Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill granting a renewable energy distribution franchise to the Solar Para Sa Bayan Corp. (SPSBC).
With 16 affirmative votes, zero negative and one abstention, the chamber passed Senate Bill No. 8179, allowing SPSBC to “construct, install, establish operate and maintain” distributed energy resources and microgrid systems for 25 years.
SPSBC is controlled by Solar Philippines President Leandro L. Leviste, the son of Senator Loren B. Legarda.
Ms. Legarda was the lone abstention.
The bill, as approved by the Senate, authorizes the company to supply remote, unviable, unserved, or underserved areas in thirteen provinces.
These are Aurora, Batangas, Bohol, Cagayan, Camiguin, Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Isabela, Masbate, Misamis Occidental, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan, and Tawi-Tawi.
The bill provides that SPSBC is not entitled to “any government subsidy” in setting rates, while ampowering the Energy Regulatory Commission to set rates.
If enacted, the measure does not revoke existing franchises, and does not affect the Department of Energy’s mandate to promote private-sector participation in electrifying remote and unviable, unserved, or underserved areas. — Charmaine A. Tadalan