Proposed energy efficiency law to hurt small firms – PhilExport

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AN exporters’ group has expressed opposition to a provision under a proposed energy efficiency and conservation (EE/EC) law because of the lack of financing options to comply with the required mechanism and additional business-related administrative procedures, all of which can increase the cost of doing business.

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The proposed legislation requires manufacturers, importers and dealers to comply with the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) system and display an energy label showing the energy requirement and consumption efficiency of the products.

“However, MSMEs [micro, small and medium enterprises] particularly do not have the mechanism to measure their energy consumption. The MEPS as suggested in the bill may not be immediately affordable to them, noting the absence of financing options,” the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PhilExport) said in a position paper released on April 26.

It said companies lack the source data by which they can establish baseline numbers for their target reduction of energy consumption.

The legislation also requires them to develop EE/EC plans and programs under the MEPS system for equipment, appliances, vehicles and electronic devices to ensure the least energy consumption.

PhilExport also cited the proposed law’s provision mandating the private sector to undertake a number of data monitoring and reporting, hire additional manpower with the technical capacity to undertake energy audit, and implement EE/EC measures.

The local government units (LGUs) are also mandated to develop and implement their Local Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plans (LEECP).

“[These] add up to the cost of doing business. These run counter to the current administration’s initiative of streamlining business-related administrative procedures and reducing the cost of doing business,” PhilExport said.

It said energy efficiency and conservation are best pursued at the enterprise or company level.

“Reduced cost because of lesser energy consumption is the incentive itself. Businesses are already reeling from so many regulations. Any additional regulatory costs and procedures will negatively impact on the competitiveness of enterprises in the country, particularly MSMEs,” PhilExport added.

It suggested distribution utilities, electric cooperatives and professional organizations, such as the Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers (IIEE) and the Philippine Society for Mechanical Engineers, should be considered to initiate technically sound and practical conservation measures that are auditable and can be duplicated.

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