Negros leaders urged to switch to renewable energy to ease burden of rising electricity rates
BACOLOD CITY – San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza is calling on government leaders on Negros Island and surrounding provinces, national policymakers, and energy authorities to turn to the development of renewable energy in the country as a readily available and genuine solution to high power costs that burden Filipinos.
Alminaza’s call for action was made during a House Committee on Energy (COE) hearing held Friday, October 29, which sought to tackle the increase in electricity rates of electric cooperatives in Negros and Iloilo in light of the damaged submarine cable of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) connecting Cebu to Negros and Panay, and the consequence of purchasing electricity from Wholesale Electricity Market (WESM).
“We support the several recommendations for the urgent repair of the submarine cable and for the hastened development of smart grids, battery storage, and microgrids to further augment energy supply in the province and unlock the potential of renewable energy (RE),” the prelate said.
“In fact, we suggest that increases in electricity rates due to delays should be charged to the NGCP, who is mandated to ensure that transmission facilities are in optimal condition, and not to innocent consumers, who are already burdened by this long-drawn pandemic,” he added.
Echoing warnings from fellow clean energy and climate advocates and experts, Alminaza said they should expect electricity rates to continue to rise and Filipinos to experience worse climate crisis impacts as long as the country does not have an ambitious energy transition plan and allows another fossil fuel – natural gas – to occupy a large share of the power mix moving forward.
“The real solution is clear: a switch and just transition to affordable, reliable, and sustainable renewable energy through better power procurement practices and a comprehensive and transformative energy transition plan,” he said.
“This we should do not only for the electricity consumers, but also for the less fortunate burdened by these costs, for the next generations who will lose the most in a climate catastrophic future, and for our common home,” Alminaza said.
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