Monday , May 28, 2018

Energy office: Expect hike in electricity rates due to Train

WITH the nation’s new comprehensive tax reform program this year, a Department of Energy-Visayas Field Office (DOE-VFO) official said there would definitely be a hike in the prices of electricity in the coming months.

Engr. Keelvin Dajao, Science Research Specialist 2 of the DOE-VFO, said Wednesday, January 24, that the upcoming hike in the prices of electricity was mainly due to the excise tax to be imposed on coal importation.

Coal was one of the major sources of power in the country, and it was covered by excise tax under the Train law, Dajao said.

He admitted that the DOE did not have yet the matrix for the projected increase in power rates with the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law but they were already monitoring possible rate adjustments in the power sector.

When asked what was the biggest supplier of power in the Visayas, Dajao said coal and geothermal are now providing almost half-half of the power demand in the region.

Solar power, meanwhile, is lesser in terms of power generation because it is unstable, unreliable and intermittent, as it is dependent on the weather, specifically on sunlight. That is why solar power is still expensive and is mostly off-grid.

Dajao admitted there was an excess of solar power in the country that could not yet be connected to the grid.

He said the construction of solar power plants, which require huge tracts of land, did have an impact on the people and on agriculture and food security with lands now being converted to solar farms.

That was why DOE was trying to strike a balance between providing for more renewable energy, especially solar, in the country but with minimal impact and with mitigating measures to cushion its effects on humans and the environment, Dajao said.

He said they await the new policy from the DOE hierarchy on the construction of additional solar power plants. (PNA)