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Saturday, April 13, 2024

4Ps members asked to enroll in life line electricity program

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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday asked beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to register in the lifeline electricity rate program to avail of electricity bill discounts.

Gatchalian, principal author of Republic Act 11552 or an Act Extending and Enhancing the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate, said the tripartite body composed of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Energy (DOE) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), had delayed the implementation of the new lifeline rate program from September to January 2024 to allow the enlistment of more 4Ps beneficiaries.

Gatchalian said beneficiaries need to consume not more than 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month to avail of discounts. The program covers households who are unable to pay their bills, including beneficiaries of 4Ps, or customers considered to be living below the poverty threshold set by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

“We pushed for this measure because we wanted more people to benefit from the subsidy program,” he said, noting that for those living within the franchise area of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the subsidy could range between 20 to 100 percent depending on how much electricity they consume.

The power reduction rate varies depending on the prevailing rates of the distribution utilities or electric cooperatives.

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Gatchalian said the tripartite body should ensure that the enrollment is not too cumbersome for the 4Ps beneficiaries.

“The government must step up efforts to get deserving households on the list of beneficiaries and ensure that the enrollment procedure is both convenient and expeditious. There should also be an intensified information and dissemination campaign to reach as many beneficiaries as possible,” Gatchalian said.

He said the subsidy is meant to assist electricity consumers adversely affected by the volatility of fuel prices and high cost of basic commodities.

There were 47,171 qualified marginalized end-users (QMEs) registered as of Aug. 30, 2023.

The government, through an advisory, directed all distribution utilities to exert more aggressive promotion efforts to disseminate information on the lifeline rate program and continue accepting and processing applications.

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