Inputs on net metering under study, DOE says

    73

    Amid warnings from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the Department of Energy (DOE) said it is still consolidating stakeholders’ comments in crafting its department circular for Policies to Enhance the Net-Metering Program for Renewable Energy Systems and Other Mechanisms to Ensure Energy Security.

    “Following our standard procedures before issuing any policy, we are currently reviewing all insights, comments, and suggestions we have received from our stakeholders, including those from the ERC, which we received on Nov. 18, 2019. Lastly, we would like to note that there are also several legislative bills attempting to amend, or prescribe a revised NMP,” the agency said in a statement.

    The ERC earlier warned that some provisions of the DOE’s draft department circular amendments to NMP may not align with other laws.

    Agnes Devanadera, ERC chairperson and chief executive officer in a statement said among possible legal drawbacks of the DOE’s draft circular is the proposed compensation mechanism that is not consistent with the provisions of the Renewable Energy (RE) Act and the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

    The ERC also warned that the draft circular’s Sections 6 (Own-Use RE Systems with Above 100 kW capacity) and 7 (Own-Use RE Systems as Emergency Supply Option) are not supported by the express provisions of the RE Act apart from responsibilities imposed upon ERC under Section 11 has already been addressed with the promulgation of the Amended Net-Metering Rules

    It said the use of retail rate as one of the compensation mechanism instead of blended generation cost that the ERC adopted in its recently promulgated amended net-metering rules, will consequently increase the generation cost of the distribution utility that in turn may affect consumers.

    ERC defended its comment citing a simulation on the impact of using the retail rate as the price of export at different levels of net-metering penetration with a resulting retail rate of P13.8528 per kWh at the 30 percent maximum net-metering penetration level which is even higher than the last feed-in-tariff rate set at P8.69 per kWh that will be detrimental to consumers.

    Moreover, ERC asserted it has the mandate to issue rules and regulations pertaining to net-metering as it will affect the cost of power. Last October, the regulatory body already issued its own amended rules for NMP.

    “The Commission fully supports the development of the RE Program, and we commend the DOE for coming up with its draft department circular that seeks to encourage and promote electricity end-users participation into the net-metering program. The department circular, however, should not veer away from the confines of the law that it seeks to implement,” Devanadera claimed.

    Net-metering is the term for the sale of excess power generated from consumer-owned renewable energy installations to the local distribution grid of electric distribution utilities that can be paid via an offset to the monthly power bill.