MORE Power energy security effort amplified by USAID, LGU cooperation

More Power energy security effort for Iloilo City is amplified with the cooperation it forged with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Iloilo City Government under Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Trenas. 

The cooperation between the three major stakeholders aims to ensure the sufficiency of electricity supply for Iloilo City considering the growing investment in the city.

The program which which kicked off with the effort to develop a Local Energy Plan is supported by USAID Energy Secure Philippines (ESP) Initiative and with an allocation of US$50,000 primarily to cover cost for technical and financial support for Iloilo City as the pilot area.

The USAID coordinated with the RT International Research Institute, which will provide the technical know-how and support in developing a modern facility with MORE Power also as a pilot distribution utility.

At present, there is no office in the Iloilo City Government who implements Energy Consumption and Energy Conservation program despite mandated by RA 11285 or the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act for Local Government Units.

Read: 5 Success Qualities of MORE Power in Iloilo

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act was signed into law by then President Rodrigo R. Duterte in April 12, 2019 in order to institutionalize energy efficiency and conservation, enhance the efficient use of energy, and grant incentives to energy efficiency and conservation projects.

MORE Power energy security needs Local Energy Plan 

According to Engr. Noel Hechanova, Executive Assistant for Environment of Iloilo City, they started creating the plan in 2004 however, this was never completed.

It only showed that Iloilo City did not have an Local Energy Plan to serve as guide for the power development complementary to its economic agenda in the last 18 years. 

The Iloilo City Government initially started its renewable energy and energy conservation initiatives like giving discounts on real property taxes to encourage businessmen and consumers but very few availed of it perhaps referring to 20 percent incentive for household users of renewable energy like solar power.

In November 18, 2009, the Iloilo City Council passed the ordinance sponsored by former City Councilor Eldrid C. Antiquera , entitled: An Ordinance Encouraging All Household Entities to Utilize Natural Energy from Renewable Energy Sources and Providing Real Property Tax Incentive Thereof or Regulation Ordinance No. 2009-358. It institutionalized 20 percent incentive among household users of renewable energy. 

The incentive availment was indeed slow as indicated by records from the CENRO. secured by the Center for Power Issues and Initiatives in 2016. Only 12 applicants was endorsed and approved by the office in 2014; 15 applicants in 2015; and 23 in 2016.  

Crafting of Local Energy Plan

The USAID will guide the LGU and various stakeholders through a series of workshops in crafting long-term energy conservation plans, creating an Energy Efficiency Conservation Office, Local Energy Plan, Ordinance for the Local Energy Code, and EVOSS or Energy Virtual One Stop Shop, which will provide the energy-based online situation of business and investment promotions of the City Government.

“In the first place, ang partnership naton with MORE is important to reduce yung rate. We cooperate, we bring down the cost, we bring down the system loss. If we reduce that through energy efficiency nga mga programs, then it would benefit the city kag mga constituents namon kag mga konsumidor,” stressed Engr. Hechanova. 

Then we have to cooperate on energy efficiency and advocacy bangud kinahanglan namon ang other partners to help us promote this agud ma reduce ang greenhouse gases emission naton,” Engr. Hechanova added. 

On the other hand, Engr. Niel Ravena, Acting Department Head of CENRO, emphasized the importance of having data on the supply of power in Iloilo City to cater to the electricity requirement of incoming investors.

“It is very hard for the city kung kulang imo nga supply, with the promotion sang atun very aggressive nga mayor sa atun nga investors, dapat ready ang energy source ta kag ang distribution utility para mag accommodate sa masulod nga investors,” said Engr. Ravena.

“Very vital gid ang papel sang MORE in this endeavor kay ti sila ang distribution utility company nga naga serve diri sa City of Iloilo. So mayu gid kay naka start na kita sang partnership with MORE and USAID para maka jump off na ini nga mga projects“, Ravena added.

MORE Power energy security effort is ensured with cooperation by providing the necessary information to the city on its load capacities and forecasting of demands.

The company will also take a huge role in the technical working group of the city government to hasten the crafting of the Local Energy Plan.

The group targets its completion in five years. This will then serve as the guide for investors who wish to expand their business in Iloilo City and for further plans for the city government in terms of development.

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