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Gov’t rolls out lifeline power discount for low-income households

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POWER AID. File photo shows a lineman examining an electric meter base at a post along Brgy. Commonwealth in Quezon City. Qualified low-income households will soon be part of a lifeline rate program of the Marcos administration. Manny Palmero

The Marcos administration on Sunday announced the roll out of a Lifeline Rate program that would aid qualified low-income households in paying their electricity bill obligations.

The Presidential Communications Office said the subsidized rate will be given to qualified low-income electricity customers who are unable to pay their electricity bills at full cost.

Among the Filipino households who can apply for the lifeline rate program are the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) or customers considered to be living below the poverty threshold set by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Only one Distribution Utility (DU) or Electric Cooperative (EC) service per qualified household can be granted a lifeline rate. In cases where more than one beneficiary from the same household applies for the lifeline rate using the same service account, only one application would be granted.

The qualified beneficiaries may apply by submitting to the DU and EC their duly accomplished Lifeline Rate Application Form, their most recent electricity bill, and any valid government-issued identification card containing the signature and address of the customer.

If the customer lives below the PSA’s poverty threshold, he or she must submit a local Social Welfare and Development Office (SWDO) certification, wherein the certification should have been issued within the last six months, and it must show that the applicant’s family income was below the poverty threshold applicable at the time of his or her application.

The Lifeline Rate program validity is based on the annual certified list of 4Ps beneficiaries provided by the DSWD. A qualified customer is eligible to receive the Lifeline Rate if he or she remains on the updated list.

For non-4Ps beneficiaries, the Lifeline Rate will have a three-year validity from the date of issuance of certification by the local SWDO.

Meanwhile, the Manila Electric Co. said it is proactively looking for ways to encourage more customers to apply for the lifeline rate program.

The Department of Energy said last week only 12,900 4Ps beneficiaries and other qualified marginalized household beneficiaries have registered to avail of the lifeline rate program as of end July.

Meralco vice president and head of corporate communications Joe Zaldarriaga said the company has ramped up the conduct of barangay caravans in different cities and provinces within its franchise area to encourage more beneficiaries to apply.

Meralco said starting September, only customers with approved applications will continue to enjoy the discount in accordance with the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 11552 or the law extending and enhancing the implementation of the lifeline rate.

“While we have already engaged all local social welfare development offices or SWDOs in our franchise area, we will continue to reach out to more customers and we hope that the on-site applications will lead to the increase in the number of program beneficiaries,” Zaldarriaga said.

Meralco has lined up on-site applications and caravans in the cities of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Manila, Parañaque, Quezon, and Valenzuela for August.

Meralco will also do the same in San Rafael and Meycauayan in Bulacan, San Pablo City in Laguna, General Mariano Alvarez and General Trias in Cavite, Taytay and Rodriguez in Rizal, and Mauban and Sariaya in Quezon.

Under the lifeline rate program, qualified customers should have a monthly electricity consumption of 100 kilowatt hours or below to avail the discount ranging from 20 percent to 100 percent in their Meralco electricity bills, depending on their actual consumption.

“We are calling on all our qualified customers to take advantage of our caravans and apply for the program so that they can continue to benefit from the discount. Rest assured that Meralco will immediately process the applications and continue our information and education campaigns to bring in more customers to the program,” Zaldarriaga said.

DOE director Luningning Baltazar said the total estimated beneficiaries based on the 4Ps list is around 4.2 million consumers.

“The names of the 4Ps beneficiaries were already submitted to the distribution utility. They just need to accomplish the forms,” Baltazar said.

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