With proposals to impose higher excise taxes on coal to promote the development of renewable energy sources, National Electrification Administration (NEA) chief Edgardo Masongsong urged legislators to study the impact of the said proposals, especially their effect on the costs of electricity.

The NEA chief feared the proposal to raise the coal tax from the current P10 per metric ton to P300 per metric ton over a three-year period, as stipulated in Senate Bill 1592––also known as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN)––may lead to higher electricity rates.

At the inauguration of the new main office of the Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ISECO), the NEA chief stressed that “with more than 50 percent of energy source coming from coal, I am afraid we will be paying more for our electricity consumption.”

“That should be reviewed by the bicam so that they will be able to see what would be the impact if that will be pursued,” said the former solon, who once sat in Congress as a party-listt representative of 1-CARE (First Consumer Alliance for Rural Energy).

Masongsong nonetheless said that he appreciated efforts by legislators to encourage the shift to renewable energy and to care for the environment.

“I believe this will discourage investors in putting up generation facilities that are not friendly to the environment. This will also promote development of renewable sources of energy,” said Masongsong.

The Senate approved on third and final reading the TRAIN bill last week. Its version sought to increase the excise tax on coal from the current P10 metric ton to P100 per metric ton on the first year, P200 per metric ton on the second year, and P300 per metric ton on the third year.

Masongsong was in Ilocos Sur over the weekend to spearhead the inauguration and blessing of the main office of Iseco before gracing the power distribution utility’s 39th Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) held at the Sto. Domingo People’s Coliseum in Poblacion, Sto. Domingo.

The activity, which carried the theme “ISECO and Member-Consumer-Owners (MCOs) forging a stronger bond in partnership to advance development and progress through rural electrification,” drew over 8,100 MCOs in the first district of Ilocos Sur.

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