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Bill adding energy efficiency office to DoE bureau approved

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A BILL reorganizing the agency in charge of promoting energy conservation and efficiency was approved on second reading at the House of Representatives via voice voting.

House Bill No. 8629, or the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, reorganizes the Energy Utilization and Management Bureau (EUMB) to include an Efficiency and Conservation Enforcement Division (EECED).

Currently, the EUMB’s organization includes the Alternative Fuels and Energy Technology Division (AFETD) and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Division (EECD).

The bill outlines the AFETD’s role as to formulate plans and policy relative to alternative fuels and new and advanced energy technologies. The EECD is to evaluate and promote the use of energy efficiency and conservation technology.

The measure also places energy efficiency projects in the government’s Strategic Investments Priorities Plan (SIPP), which will entitle it to incentives.

“At the end of (the incentive period), the Fiscal Incentives Review Board may suspend or cancel the grant of such incentives upon a joint recommendation by the DoE (Department of Energy) and the BoI (Bureau of Investments),” according to the bill.

The incentives include a six-year income tax holiday, zero percent value-added tax rate on capital purchases, a 10-year tax and duty exemption on imported capital equipment directly used for energy efficiency operations.

The DoE, as the implementing agency, has been empowered to hold on-site inspections to assess energy management systems and make recommendations when violations are committed.

The DoE may also impose fines, ranging from P10,000 to P1 million, which may be doubled depending on the damage caused, and seek the imprisonment of violators for one to five years. — Charmaine A. Tadalan