Electricity consumers in the provinces who are subscribed to different electric cooperatives (ECs) need not worry about the increased excise tax imposed on coal as its impact on their power rates will be “minimal,” the National Electrification Administration (NEA) said.

Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said EC consumers may expect price adjustments in their power bills by March, but these will be nominal because not all distribution utilities derive their energy sources purely from coal.

“On the average, ‘yung mga kumokonsumo ng kuryente sa eletric cooperatives, 136 kilowatt hour ang consumption. Ang presyo ‘non siguro mga between 680 to 700 pesos. Ang epekto doon ng excise tax mga 70 centavos lang per bill,” Masongsong said.

“So, ibig sabihin, mas mahal pa ‘yung (magiging presyo ng) text or ng candy. Very minimal lang talaga ang epekto ng excise tax ‘pag ang supply ng kuryente ay galing sa coal,” the administrator emphasized.

Masongsong explained that out of the 121 ECs operating in the country, 74 are purchasing energy out of coal-fired power plants, of which only 47 are using more than 50 percent for their electricity requirement.

He attributed this to the fact that a lot of power cooperatives are gradually making their transition into renewable energy such as solar, hydro, wind or even biomass, in line with the thrust of the government.

Nevertheless, Masongsong said they will remain on the watch for ECs that might take advantage of the higher coal excise tax to jack up electricity rates, considering that 30 to 35 percent of their baseload comes from this fossil fuel source.

He said the NEA through its Regulatory Affairs Office will be scrutinizing the terms of reference of every power supply agreement entered into by the ECs under its charge to steer them away from contracts that may be found disadvantageous to their member-consumer-owners.

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