By Jovee Marie de la Cruz, November 23 2018; Business Mirror


Image Credit to Business World

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading House Bill 8417, or the Energy Virtual One Stop Shop (eVOSS), that seeks to provide a faster and more efficient application and processing time for power-generation projects.

AKO Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel M. Batocabe, principal author of the measure, said eVOSS would also cut project expenses and eliminate red tape.

The measure, approved last Tuesday, will be transmitted to the Senate for its own deliberations.

Batocabe is also confident that if enacted into law, eVOSS will ultimately result in lower energy prices for consumers.

Under the proposed bill, an online eVOSS system, under the supervision of the Department of Energy, will be established for a simplified and streamlined submission and processing of documents required for power generation, transmission and distribution projects.

According to Batocabe, “It is important to attract greenfield power generation developers and fast-track the construction of power plants. However, a barrier to the entry of new plants is this  lengthy and tedious permitting process coupled with numerous documentary requirements.”

The bill, Batocabe said, also seeks to address the time-consuming and lengthy permitting process by eliminating redundancy, providing an easy online platform for government approval and utilizing a paperless processing system.

“This will eventually give new power generation developers an easier time to start their power generation projects,” he said.

For his part, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Q. Velasco, chairman of the House Committee on Energy, as well as coauthor of this bill, said the expected increase in economic activity entails an increase in energy demand.

“As such, it is important to attract power generation developers, as well as fast-track the construction of power plants,” he said.

However, Velasco said it has been observed that it takes hundreds of signatures and dozens of permits from different government offices for energy resource investors who want to put up power plants, thus, discouraging many power generation companies to invest in the Philippines.

“We want to streamline the lengthy permitting process and reduce the cost of doing business for generation companies, which, in turn, would encourage competition by attracting more power generation companies to invest in the country, and would indirectly reduce generation charges as a result of reduced cost of business,” he added.