Coal tax might burden consumers: NEA chief

MANILA — National Electrification Administration (NEA) chief Edgardo Masongsong is concerned that while the proposal to impose a higher excise tax on coal would promote the development of renewable energy (RE) sources, this might become an additional burden for consumers.

“I believe this will discourage investors from putting up generation facilities that are not friendly to the environment,” Masongsong said in an interview after the inauguration of the new main office of the Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Iseco) on Saturday.

Masongsong urged the bicameral conference committee to review the said provision in Senate Bill 1592, also known as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), raising the coal tax from the current P10 to P300 per metric ton over a three-year period, that could result in higher electricity rates.

“With more than 50 percent of energy source coming from coal, I am afraid we will be paying more for our electricity consumption,” Masongsong said.

Already approved on its third and final reading, the TRAIN bill seeks to increase the coal excise tax at a rate of P100 on the first year, P200 on the second year, and P300 per metric ton on the third year.

“While it may look good on one hand, I am concerned that the subsequent increase may be passed on to consumers,” Masongsong said. Albert-Anthony Abando/