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Revise the ERC Resolution No. 09, Series of 2013 (Rules Enabling Net-Metering for RE)

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Revise/Amend the ERC Resolution No. 09, Series of 2013 – A resolution Adopting the Rules Enabling the Net-Metering Program for Renewable Energy, to make it more responsive, accessible and applicable to every Filipino.

In a Resolution promulgated on July 1, 2013, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) adopted the Rules Enabling the Net-metering Program for Renewable Energy, including the Net-metering Interconnection Standards (Net-metering Rules).  The Net-metering Rules allow electricity end-users who are updated in the payment of their electric bills to their distribution utility (DU) to engage in distributed generation. They can generate electricity from renewable energy (RE) sources like solar, wind, biomass or such other RE Systems not exceeding 100 kW that can be installed within the end-users’ premises and supply the electricity they generate in excess of what they can consume directly to their DU.

Under the current set-up, customer’s export energy is priced based on DU’s blended generation or at price almost half of customer imports energy from the grid. This means that customers' solar power system must generate 2 times more energy than they use to be able to offset the billing for energy import. This defies the very definition of “Net-Metering” as mandated in the law (RA 9513). Under the RA 9513, the definition of Net-metering is:

kk)   “Net-Metering" refers to a system, appropriate for distributed generation, in which a distribution grid user has a two-way connection to the grid and is only charged for his net electricity consumption and is credited for any overall contribution to the electricity grid;

Also, under Section 7 of RA 9513:

SEC. 7. Net-Metering for Renewable Energy

 Net-Metering is a consumer-based renewable energy incentive scheme wherein electric power generated by an end-user from an eligible on-site RE generating facility and delivered to the local distribution grid may be used to offset electric energy provided by the DU to the end-user during the applicable period.

Also, the current “Net-Metering Rule”, after more than 4 years of implementation, is still limited in its scope and applicability. Under Section 3 of said ERC Resolution, Net-metering program is applicable only to on-grid areas or DUs/ECs that is interconnected to the main power grid of the Philippines under the control of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). This is a clear discrimination to the applicability of law and acts to customers in the off-grid areas that are also tax payers of the Republic of the Philippines. It also runs contrary to the intent and policies of RA 9513.

In view of the forgoing, we call for the following immediate measures that will ensure Net-Metering as a real consumer-based renewable energy incentive:

  1. Implement Net-Metering pricing methodology wherein the price of export energy is the same with the price of import energy.
  2. Implement Net-Metering to the entire Philippines including Off-Grid and On-Grid Areas.
  3. In lieu of, or for the meantime, that net-metering and commercial agreement is not yet applicable to Off-Grid areas, Distribution Utilities and Electric Cooperative servicing Off-Grid areas should immediately be mandated to implement "Interconnection and Parallel Operation of Generation with the Utility System" of residential rooftop solar power system with the use of bidirectional meters to make sure that end users in that areas are not being penalized/charged for the excess solar energy exported to the utility grid.    
  4. Institutionalize, standardized and lower the fees being charged to end users availing of Net-Metering program (e.g. DIS fee) to become more affordable to common citizen.
  5. Provide a responsive, fixed and shorter time-frame for the whole process of Application of Net-Metering, from the submission application to the approval of Net-Metering Agreement.

Granting this petition for change in Net-Metering rule would encourage end-user/consumer and every citizen to accelerate the utilization of renewable energy and thereby mitigate the adverse effect of climate change. Also, for not being only a consumer but also by becoming a power generator, it would instill the habit of energy conservation and encourage sustainable development in the countryside. It would ultimately achieve energy self-reliance and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

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