THE Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) is planning to charge or to pass on to consumers the Real Property Tax (RPT) charged by the local government units (LGUs) for its electrical posts, insulators, transformers, electric meters and transmission lines covering the period from 1992 to 2017.
In a press conference on Monday, March 18, Engr. Normal Pollentes, officer-in-charge of Ceneco’s Regulatory Compliance Office and lwyer Joel Cabalatungan, legal counsel of Ceneco, said that Ceneco joined the 120 other electric cooperatives all over the country under the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Associations Inc. (Philreca) in their petition before the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to approve its proposal to pass on extra charges from the government.
Philreca stated that the issuance of the rules allowing the pass-through of RPT is valid and timely considering that the LGUs have assessed and collected RPT from electric cooperatives. The RPT should therefore be passed on to the consumers subject to post verification and confirmation by the ERC, similar to the local business and franchise tax.
Pollentes said that if the ERC grants the petition, it would mean an additional of one to two centavos per kilowatt hour on the consumers' electric bills.
Philreca also stated in their petition that the need to allow the pass-through of RPT became all the more urgent following the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Manilla Electric Company vs. the City Assessor and City Treasurer of Lucena City, where it was affirmed that transfers, electric posts, transmission lines, insulators and electric meters are not exempted from RPT under the LGUs.
It further stated that the existing tariff of electric cooperatives does not provide for surplus funds by way of a return on rate base and depreciation like those of the private distribution utilities. The electric cooperatives are constrained to fund the RPT from their meager internally generated funds and in most cases, from loans obtained from the National Electrification Administration and other financial institutions. (TDE)