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DoE may impose up to P100M in fines for RPS violations

THE Department of Energy (DoE) said it will impose penalties of up to P100 million for violating the rules governing its Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) scheme.

“This guidelines shall be liberally construed to carry out the objectives of the RE (Renewable Energy) Act and other renewable energy laws, rules and regulations, and to obtaining a just and expeditious settlement or disposition of administrative cases,” the DoE said in a draft circular issued on June 13. 

Energy Assistant Secretary Mylene C. Capongcol said the DoE hopes to finalize the circular in about two months.

“The draft policy is still (subject to) public consultation until July 12. We just had the first leg (on Wednesday); usually it takes two months to promulgate due to discussions and deliberations on the comments received, but if there is not much comment, the promulgation will be earlier,” Ms. Capongcol said in a Viber message.

The draft bars participants from not complying with or violating the RPS rules or the guidelines set by the DoE.

“A fine ranging from a minimum of P100,000 to P100 million or twice the amount of damages caused or costs avoided for non-compliance, whichever is higher, or both, (will be imposed) upon the discretion of the court,” it said. 

The draft circular tasks the DoE with designating a composite team to handle and review complaints and violations. 

It said that all administrative action resulting from any violation of the RPS rules will be filed with the RPS composite team within four years from the date of the violation or upon the initiative of the RPS composite team within one year from the date of the discovery of the violation.

In separate department circulars signed on May 23, the DoE issued amendments to the RPS for both on-grid and off-grid areas.

The DoE said on-grid power suppliers must expand the share of RE in their output to 2.5% starting in 2023, from the current 1%.

It also requires off-grid participants to accelerate their green energy transitions by reducing their dependence on fossil fuel by hybridization or use of alternative technology.

Separately, the DoE also created a performance assessment and audit team to oversee the operations of the transmission network provider and system operator.

Signed by Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla on June 8, the department said the circular aims to establish a comprehensive and sustainable mechanism.

Calls have emerged for a performance audit of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines  following the tripping of transmission lines on May 8, raising red and yellow alerts over the Luzon power grid.

“The PAA (performance assessment audit) shall serve as basis for the DoE or the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) to recommend to Congress any actions to be taken in respect of the franchise of the TNP (transmission and network provider) and SO (system operator), and as basis for Congress to act upon such recommendations,” it said.

The DoE also said the PAA will serve as the basis for the DoE, ERC and other agencies in developing policies to ensure reliable and affordable electricity.

“The PAA shall provide the basis for the ERC’s enforcement of an incentive and penalty system that ensures accountability of the TNP and SO in performing its mandate in ensuring the security and reliability of the grid while allowing non-discriminatory access to all grid users,” it added. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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