Ex-solon hits DoE revision of net metering program

October 23, 2019

A FORMER congressman has challenged the draft circular of the Department of Energy (DoE) revising the net metering program that will install a solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, stressing this will only result to a higher power rates and further marginalize the poor.

Ex-Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan, Inc. (AGHAM) party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones sought for a thorough review, branding the policy as anti-poor by shifting to net metering program from the traditional generation-transmission-distribution scheme.

“This will further widen the divide and instigating another fight between the rich and the poor. The draft circular by DoE, if actually approved and implemented, will mean that the upper-class minority will benefit from the new Net Metering policies, while the already marginalized will be forced to carry the burden of higher electricity rates as a result,” Palmones, AGHAM President and now a dzRH radio anchor after the DoE released the circular for comments and public consultations, stressed.

“AGHAM is greatly concerned by this draft circular by the DoE, as we believe that consumers will once again be forced to pay higher power rates as an effect of this proposal. We are questioning why the DoE would push a policy that would increase power rates to most consumers, while benefiting net metering program participants, who actually make up only a very small portion of the consumer base,” Palmones explained.

“My main concern, which I wish to raise to the DoE, is that the proposal regarding net metering will increase rates to all consumers. Specifically, included in the proposal is an increase of the compensation to net metering customers, effectively doubling the compensation paid to such customers,” Palmones explained.

Palmones said it “is an unfortunate development for most residential customers because this means the ultimate outcome will be increased electricity rates that consumers will be forced to pay, as the proposed increased compensation will be recovered through the generation charge.”

AGHAM further highlighted another concern regarding the DoE proposal to allow customers with larger than 100 kilowatt hour (kw) rooftops to join the program.

The group highlighted how “allowing larger installations to export their excess energy will mean higher costs to be recovered through the generation charge.”

AGHAM concluded that “the only those who will benefit from the DoE proposals are the affluent households, who are the only ones that can afford solar rooftops, large companies, as the 100 kW threshold requires large rooftops, and the vendors of solar rooftops. Meanwhile, rates to all other customers will increase.”

The group asked for “more studies and further analysis should be done regarding net metering before any changes are made. Based on our studies, the proposals of the DoE are very much likely to increase rates. The mandate of DoE should always, first and foremost, be to protect the welfare of electricity consumers.”