SHIFT TO RETAIL ELECTRICITY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY:

BUSINESSES CAN THRIVE DURING AND AFTER COVID-19

December 28, 2020

 

 As the world approaches the end of 2020, nations remain impacted and forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. And while many businesses here in the country have indeed struggled, many have also remained resilient and continue to soldier on in the face of this unprecedented challenge.

 As they move toward recovery, more and more businesses have explored various cost reduction measures to endure and survive for now, until the economy has completely bounced back. And because electricity is “the lifeblood that keeps every business operation going,” one of the timely and pertinent solutions common to a substantial number of businesses is switching to a retail electricity supplier, which will enable them to enjoy savings on their electricity costs.

 RETAIL ELECTRICITY – AT THE FOREFRONT OF THRIVING AMIDST COVID-19

 In the middle of 2020, the Energy Regulatory Commission or ERC announced the grant of a total of 42 Retail Electricity Supplier (RES) licenses, and authorization of 25 local RES as of this year’s second quarter[1]. This enabled more RES to join the so-called Competitive Retail Electricity Market or CREM, which gives the benefit of choice to qualified contestable customers consuming at least 750 kilowatt per month. These contestable customers now have more options to choose the RES that could meet their businesses’ specific power needs at reasonable prices.

 Alongside the increase of licensed RES is the continuously growing number of registered contestable customers. According to the ERC’s 2nd Quarter 2020 Report, the total registered contestables are at 2,089, and 70% of these have already contracted with their chosen RES.

 The CREM was also said to have seen an “almost 2% increase” despite previously imposed restrictions and community quarantines. This coincides with the trend that businesses are indeed looking for ways to cut costs during these difficult times. Companies that have joined the contestable market have finally found the benefits of having the power to enjoy lower electricity rates, reliable services, and essentially, customer satisfaction—all of which will enable them to survive and then flourish even more in their own industries.

BENEFITS OF RENEWABLE ENERGY – THE OTHER KEY HOPE

 With the power sector also severely affected by the pandemic, revisiting of energy sources was one position taken by regulatory authorities in the industry, since it affects the pattern of investments.

 The notion of shifting to renewable energy is not different from the trends seen in larger economies that have switched from coal to cleaner and more sustainable resources such as hydro, wind, geothermal, and solar energy. But for such a move to be effective, a clear and consistent commitment from government will be needed, both on intervention and policy implementation.

 Just recently, DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi expressed his desire to lift the 60/40 ownership requirement on renewable energy, arguing that it can attract more investments that will accelerate the country’s shift from coal to cleaner renewable energy[2]. He wanted to course this either through a DOE circular or a piece of legislation.

 Consequently, the recent spotlight on renewable energy will hopefully fast-track the shift, enabling the country to eventually garner various benefits, such as:

  • Reduced air pollution, as there will be no greenhouse gases unlike when sources are fossil fuels;
  • Reduced dependency on fossil fuels;
  • More diversified sources of energy, which implies competitiveness in the market and cheaper rates; and,
  • Creation of more jobs[3].

 THINKING LONG-TERM

 The above mentioned progress in the power industry will encourage sustainability, which is advantageous in the long run. Thus, the whole country must seize the business atmosphere wherein there are more and more qualified RES and contestables, in the case of retail electricity; and capability, as in the case of renewable energy, towards attaining energy savings and power independence.

 [1] https://www.philstar.com/business/2020/08/20/2036481/more-retail-electricity-suppliers-accredited

[2] https://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/09/19/owning-the-sun/

[3] https://www.epa.gov/statelocalenergy/local-renewable-energy-benefits-and-resources#:~:text=Benefits%20of%20Renewable

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