House oks bill banning trees, structures near power lines

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THE HOUSE of Representa tives has approved a measure seeking to ban the planting of tall plants and placement of hazardous obstructions near electricity lines.

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House Bill (HB) 6276, principally authored by Rep. Carlos Uybarreta of 1-Care Party-List, seeks the continuous and uninterrupted transmission and distribution of electricity by keeping power lines clear of obstructions.

The bill will allow transmission companies, distribution utilities or the rightful owner of operator of the electric power lines to enter public or private properties to conduct trimming, pruning, cutting or clearing of tall growing plants and demolish obstructions within the right-of-way corridors of the power lines.

Under the measure, it would be unlawful for any person to plant tall growing plants within the right-of-way corridor of electric power lines.

Hazardous improvements and activities under or within the right-of-way corridor of electric power lines are prohibited as well.

Imprisonment from one day to six years and fines of P20,000 to P100,000 depending on the offense will be slapped to those found guilty.

According to Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, another author of the bill and a former House energy committee chairperson, incidents of power outages are mostly due to obstructions of power lines.

“Frequent power interruptions caused by obstructions on power lines may trigger a cascading effect of outages on the whole power system,resulting in wide-scale power interruptions bringing negative impact on the nation’s economy and the loss of millions of revenue,” Umali said.

Uybaretta added that the insufficient, unreliable or costly access to power is a roadblock to economic growth.

“It is common knowledge that energy use and economic growth go hand in hand. Increased energy supply leads to economic growth while economic growth leads to greater energy demand,” Uybaretta said.

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