Senate mulls trimming pass-on charges on electricity rates

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 17 2016 04:10 PM

The Senate Committee on Energy is looking into cutting down the charges on electricity passed on to the consumers from 13 to 5 percent, the committee chair said.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian told ANC's Headstart on Wednesday that several colleagues have raised the possibility of trimming the pass-on charges like the missionary charges, and it will be up for discussion.

"These costs are being passed to the consumers to make the distributors viable, to make the distributors at least economically viable…Baka pwede pa nating ma-trim yan. Baka pwedeng instead of 13 to 10 pass-on to 5 percent. We have to look at that," he said.

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He added, they are also hoping to make renewable energy free of value-added tax (VAT), noting that new renewables such as wind and solar are still quite expensive.

Gatchalian said another option is to let industrialized countries subsidize the feed-in tariffs (FIT), or payments made to investors of renewable energy which are passed on to consumers.

"They’re lobbying for it, and they’re the ones producing majority of the gas emissions, they should be the ones helping us keep up and this is about negotiations already," he said.

"We really have to find a mechanism, negotiate very hard, wherein we get lots of subsidies and develop our renewable energy," he added.

He admitted meanwhile, that renewable energy is not yet enough for baseload energy source, thus coal-fired power plants are still necessary.

"Coal is baseload—it’s stable and we need that to grow our economy, but it’s not going to be like that for the rest of..forever," he said.

But the neophyte senator is hopeful, with the changing times, that the shift to renewable energy can happen soon.

"New technologies are coming in, solar is getting cheaper, and maybe in the future can be a baseload component if they improve the battery component of solar," he added.

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