by Roberto Verzola
[Roberto Verzola is the author of Crossing Over: The Energy Transition to Renewable Electricity, a book published by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung which was launched on March 23, 2015. The online version of the book as well as the article this post comes from can be downloaded freely. See Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here. The author may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. All references are indicated in the e-book.]
In the Philippines, small-scale renewables (100 kW or lower) are allowed to connect to the grid under a scheme which the government also calls “net-metering”.
Here is how our Department of Energy defines its “net-metering” scheme:29
“Any electricity generated that is not consumed by the customer is automatically exported to the DU’s distribution system. The DU then gives a peso credit for the excess electricity received equivalent to the DU’s blended generation cost, excluding other generation adjustments, and deducts the credits earned to the customer’s electric bill.”
The Philippine scheme, like Hawaii’s 1996 scheme, is clearly not net metering as the rest of the world understands and implements the term. It authorizes local utilities to credit the consumer not the retail price but the much lower average generation cost of electricity. The most essential element of net metering—parity pricing—is missing. This Philippine-style “net-metering” is exactly what U.S. utilities are lobbying for today.
The Philippine definition, by the way, was written by the president of the Philippine Electric Plant Owners Association. Drafted by a utility representative, the rules clearly reflect the utilities’ unfriendly attitude towards customers who generate their own electricity. EEI, ALEC and their U.S. utility funders will envy their Philippine counterparts for the ease with which the latter have so easily managed to sneak in the same double-charging scheme that the former want imposed on all U.S. utility customers.
Compared to the 44 U.S. states that already have true net metering in place, the Philippines has a long way to go before the floodgates to solar rooftops and other low-cost renewables are fully opened.
About the Author: Roberto Verzola has a degree in electrical engineering and has worked in the information technology sector since the late 1980s. But he has also been a social activist for most of his adult life, including three years as a political prisoner in the 1970s. Earlier this year, his book “Crossing Over: The Energy Transition to Renewable Electricity” was published by the Philippine office of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung of Germany. Verzola is president of the newly-created Center for Renewable Electricity Strategies, a non-profit organization focused on helping local governments in the Philippines set up showcase communities which source 100% of their electricity from renewable sources. in a way that is economically viable both for investors and consumers. He may be reached at email@example.com.
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