Mayors Enrique Gonzalez of Valencia and Neil Credo of Dauin, both of Negros Oriental, are pushing for amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act so royalty fees being paid by the power transmission and generation company to host communities could resume.
They said they hope geothermal company, Energy Development Corporation, will include in its 2013 Integrated Report the concern on amendments to the EPIRA law, or Republic Act 9136.
Gonzalez said that without the royalty tax from EDC, that now owns and operates the geothermal steam fields and the Palinpinon power plants in Valencia, the income of the town has dropped significantly.
He said the town used to receive more than P200 million in royalty taxes.
He said the EPIRA was supposed to bring down the cost of electricity but power rates have never gone down and EDC knew this. He added that, in a recent meeting with the local government of Ormoc in Leyte, where EDC also operates a geothermal power plant, it was agreed that concerned parties will meet with Department of Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla on the proposed amendment.
Credo said he hopes that Negrense solons will take the lead in the EPIRA law amendments.
“As host province to the geothermal power plants, there must be royalty fees because whether we like it or not, it is the people who will be affected if there are problems,” he added.
He said the three congressional representatives should have studied the law before it was passed, and prevented the loss of millions of pesos in royalty fees.
The EDC-Southern Negros Geothermal Business Unit recently held a consultation on the concerns and issues of its stakeholders.*JFP
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