ERC sees more net metering participants

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has lamented the low turnout of net-metering participants in the country so far, but it has expressed optimism that things will soon turn around with the government leading the way.

ERC said that since its implementation started in 2013, the net metering program has attracted only 7,583 qualified end-users as of end last year.

Majority or 6,120 customers are in Luzon, followed by 1,168 in Visayas and 295 in Mindanao.

“While the program highly demonstrates potential savings in electricity cost and protection from bill shocks, actual data shows the need for more aggressive efforts to promote and implement the program in many parts of the country,” the ERC said.

“With government itself leading the way in this initiative, the ERC is confident that there will be significant increase in the net metering program,” it added.

The Commission on Audit (COA), for its part, has been hailed by the ERC as the national agency champion for the net metering program.

COA, which installed solar rooftop facility in its complex in Quezon City in 2017, is a key government agency that has registered for the net metering program.

Net metering enables an ordinary electricity consumer to become a “prosumer” (producer-consumer) by installing a solar facility in its premises.

As a prosumer, the consumer can partly provide for its own electricity requirements by generating electricity from renewable energy installation.

Any excess electricity generated can then be sold to the distribution grid for which the consumer derives rebates in its power bill.

“Why should we allow ourselves to be exposed to the vulnerabilities of higher fuel cost when we can generate power from our own resources?” ERC commissioner Catherine Maceda said.

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