By Butch Fernandez - April 5, 2017
THE government must impose stricter energy-efficiency and conservation standards to ensure the stability of the country’s power supply and amid expected surges in energy demand during the summer, according to Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian.
“Past administrations have mostly focused on adding additional generating capacity to address perennial energy shortages. That needs to change. The government must give greater weight to energy-efficiency and conservation strategies in its long-term plan to ensure the stability of the power supply,” said Gatchalian, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy.
In line with this, Gatchalian has been conducting committee hearings on Senate Bill 30, a proposal to institutionalize energy-efficiency and conservation policies.
The senator stressed the need to enforce Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) on machinery equipment, appliances, vehicles and other fuel-using combustion equipment, and electronic devices to ensure that homes and businesses consume the least amount of power.
Under this system, manufacturers, importers and dealers will be required to comply with the MEPS and display an Energy Label showing the energy requirement and consumption-efficiency of the products.
“The imposition of stricter energy-efficiency standards will cut down monthly electricity costs and reduce consumption. That will be a win-win situation for both the consumers and the power sector,” Gatchalian said.
The MEPS system will be carried out by multiple agencies, led by the Department of Energy (DOE), which shall develop and implement a Mandatory Energy Efficiency Rating and Labeling System (MEERLS) for designated products.
The DOE will have support from the Department of Trade and Industry (require manufacturers, importers and dealers to comply with MEPS and display the energy label); the Department of Science and Technology (conduct research and development programs in facilitating energy efficient technologies); the Department of Transportation (compliance of vehicle owners, manufacturers and importers with MEPS for road transport vehicles), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (local government unit compliance with the mandatory implementation of energy efficiency and conservation measures); and the Department of Public Works and Highways (implementation of Guidelines on Energy Efficiency and Conserving Design in Buildings).
LGUs will monitor energy consumption by business establishment and enterprises, which will become part of the requirements for business-permit renewal.
“Prevention is always better than cure, so goes the popular saying. In the case of the energy sector, it is better to conserve and use power efficiently to ensure a stable supply instead of acting haphazardly when power reserves become insufficient. Let us all be responsible consumers and work together to resolve the perennial power-supply problem, once and for all,” Gatchalian said.