Law to extend subsidies to lifeline power users

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    Low-income households will continue to enjoy lower power bills in the next 10 years if the bill extending the implementation of subsidized electricity rate to marginalized end-users is passed into law.

    Senate committee on energy chairman Sherwin Gatchalian said Senate Bill No. 1877 was passed on third and final reading last Monday.

    Gatchalian said the bill will be enacted before the expiration of the lifeline rate provision under Section 73 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 on June 26 this year.

    If passed into law, some 5.5 million households stand to benefit from the socialized pricing mechanism until June 2031 and have an estimated annual savings of P900 on electricity expenses. These are households consuming not more than 100 kilowatt hours (kWh) or less per month

    Within Manila Electric Co’s franchise, the lifeline rate subsidy being paid by non-lifeline consumers is at P0.0478 per kWh.

    Under the bill, qualified marginalized end-users are either those who are household-beneficiaries under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or those who have applied and have been certified by their distribution utilities based on criteria set by the Energy Regulatory Commission, taking into account the poverty threshold set by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

    Gatchalian said this will be the second time the lifeline rate provision is extended after the first extension in 2011d for ten years in 2011. – J. Macapagal