RESIDENTS of Compostela may already be paying higher electricity charges by the time the Cebu Electric Cooperative (Cebeco) starts to pay taxes, which amounts to about P1 million, to the northern town.

Cebeco finance manager Amelita Valencia, in an interview yesterday, said taxes due to the power coop are recoverable costs, which are passed to consumers through higher rates.

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“Taxes are not part of Cebeco’s operating expenses so the funds to be used for paying taxes will come from the consumers,” she said.

However, she said any proposed rate increase will have to go through the Energy Regulatory Commission.

Cebeco owes P319,327.02 in real property taxes and P773,378 in business taxes.

Last Tuesday, Municipal Treasurer Lorenzo Almodiel sent a letter to the power coop’s main office, asking the latter’s “preferential attention” to its unpaid business taxes in the town.

But Valencia said the Cebeco board won’t discuss the letter until its members meet on Aug. 7.

Another letter

Almodiel said he will send another letter to Cebeco within this week informing the latter of its updated real property taxes.

Valencia said the power coop has partially paid its real property taxes to the Provincial Government, which, she said, is the collecting agency, because Cebeco still has a pending case regarding tax exemption privileges.

She said Cebeco has not collected tax, apart from the value added tax, from Compostela consumers since 1991. She said they have already reviewed the town’s tax ordinance, which lays down the bases for computing and collecting taxes.

Almodiel said if Cebeco ignores its unpaid taxes, the Municipal Government may be compelled to auction off the power coop’s properties in the town.

He said Acting Mayor Noval has informed Gov. Gwen Garcia about Cebeco’s non-payment of taxes.

“The Provincial Government and its lawyers will help us,” he said.