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Lifeline Rate Program to aid thousands of low-income households in PH

The Philippine government has launched the Lifeline Rate Program this month which aims to help qualified power consumers with their electricity bill expenses.

The Government Electricity Lifeline Program is a subsidized rate in the form of percentage discount levels granted to qualified low-income households who struggle to pay their electricity bills at full cost. 

Unlike the previous rollout of the program, the Department of Energy (DOE) disclosed that the existing guidelines of the subsidy program have been modified to change the target beneficiaries. 

According to DOE, the beneficiaries of the said program are now determined based on two qualifications: power consumption and economic situation.

The power consumption rate ceiling will be set by the distribution utilities (DU) and electric cooperatives, while the criteria and the list of beneficiaries depending on their economic status will be provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Social Welfare Development Office (SWDO) of the local government units.

The distribution utilities will submit to DOE the power consumption rate ceiling and the corresponding rate of discount. 

DSWD, on the other hand, will submit the list of qualified marginalized end users.

Who can avail?

The DOE said that those who are qualified to avail of the subsidized rate are marginalized power consumers who are members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and households with monthly income below the poverty threshold set by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla earlier urged 4Ps households to avail of the government’s electricity lifeline rate program after noting that there are only a few who have availed of the said program.

"There are 4.2 million household beneficiaries of 4Ps, and the registration for lifeline subsidy remains very low. Only those who register will continue to receive a reduction in their electricity bills beginning August 2023," Lotilla said.

In Central Visayas, the program is open for thousands of 4Ps beneficiaries who seek to ease their burden in terms of their electricity expenses.

Based on the data given by the DSWD-7 from the Listahanan 3, there are a total of 286,705 households under the 4Ps in Central Visayas who are eligible to avail of the lifeline rate.

Of the total, 148,607 households are in Cebu Province, 78,066 in Negros Oriental, 57,752 in Bohol, and 2,280 in Siquijor.

For the non 4Ps members (households living below the poverty line set by PSA), there are a total of 453,961 households in the region who can apply and benefit from the program.

Of the total, 220,112 households are in Cebu Province, 146,669 in Negros Oriental, 84,343 in Bohol, and 2,837 in Siquijor.

A constant validation of the list of 4Ps members will be done annually to ensure the updating of qualified beneficiaries.

Non-4Ps beneficiaries will be given a certification by the SWDO with a three-year validity period and will be reviewed and evaluated afterwards.

The Lifeline Rate

The qualified low-income households in Central Visayas who are customers of the Visayan Electric Company (VECO) with a power consumption below 100 kilowatt hour (kWh) can apply for the Lifeline Rate.

Those with a consumption level of 91-100 kWh can avail of a 5% discount on their electricity bills, 81-90 kWh are entitled to 10% discount, 71-80 kWh with 15% discount, 61-70 kWh with 20% discount, 51-60 kWh with 30% discount, 41-50 kWh with 40% discount, 31-40 kWh with 50%, 21-30 kWh with 65% discount, and those who consume 0-20 kWh will be given a full discount (100%) on their electricity bills.

"Every distribution utility, naay isubmit sa DOE and ERC kung unsa ang category for the consumption rate then naay corresponding kung pila ang i-subsidize sa mga beneficiaries, while ang VECO below 100 kWh ang ilang ceiling sa consumption but mo vary sa uban DU or electric cooperative (Every distribution utility will submit to DOE and ERC the category for the consumption rate of the beneficiaries with a corresponding amount to be subsidized, while for VECO, their ceiling for consumption is at 100 kWh. But this will vary with other DUs or electric cooperatives),” said DOE-Visayas Chief of the Energy Industry Management Division Engr. Jose Rey Maleza during the Kapihan sa PIA program held by the Philippine Information Agency 7 on Aug. 9, 2023.

"So katung mga beneficiaries nga customers sa laing distribution utilities, they have to check kung pila ang gihatag nga discount og pila ang prevailing rates (Those beneficiaries who are customers of other distribution utilities, they have to check how much is the discount provided to them and the prevailing rates)," he added.

Among the other DUs and electric cooperatives in Central Visayas are the Mactan Electric Company (MECO), Cebu Electric Cooperative (CEBECO), Bohol Electric Cooperative (BOHECO), and the Negros Oriental Electric Cooperative (NORECO).

How to avail?

Qualified beneficiaries who are 4Ps members can apply by going to their nearest distribution utility office and present their valid identification, latest electricity bill, and their duly accomplished Lifeline Rate Application Form.

For the non-4Ps, they have to submit a government-issued ID, latest electricity bill, duly accomplished Lifeline Rate Application Form, and the certification given by the SWDO issued within the last six months showing that his or her family income is below the poverty threshold applicable at the time of his or her application.

"Nagpadayun karon ang pag sign og MOA sa atong mga LGUS through the SWDO and the partner agencies alang sa paghatag og certification. As to other requirements, need gyud ang latest billing nila kay diha mana ma check ang ilang account number and location (The signing of MOA with the LGUs through the SWDO and partner agencies is ongoing for the issuance of certification. As to the other requirements, the latest billing is needed as this will show their account number and location),” explained DSWD-7 Lifeline Rate Subsidy Program Focal Person Lester Laborte.

DOE-Visayas Chief of the Energy Industry Management Division Engr. Jose Rey Malesa (center) and DSWD-7 PDO IV, Lifeline Rate Subsidy Program Focal Person Lester Laborte (right) discussing the Lifeline Rate Subsidy Program during the Kapihan sa PIA held by the Philippine Information Agency 7 on Aug. 9, 2023 (Screenshot via PIA7 FB Live)
Ongoing info drive and call for registration

The DOE Visayas and DSWD-7 said they are conducting information campaigns together with the LGUs and DUs to raise more awareness on the Lifeline Rate, especially among the qualified beneficiaries in the region.

They are doing various Family Development Sessions in partnership with VECO and SWDO to educate eligible households on how to avail of the said program.

Both agencies also reiterated their call for qualified households to register and apply in order to avail of the discounted power rates.

"Kani nga programa dako gyud kaayo ang benepisyo nga mahatag ngadto sa atong marginalized end users. So alang sa tanang qualified beneficiaries, karon nagpaabot na ang mga distribution utilities kung kanus-a mo mo apply, they are waiting. In fact, we extended the registration period para ma accomodate ang tanan
(This program will give huge benefits for our marginalized end users. So for the qualified beneficiaries, the distribution utilities are waiting for you to apply for the program. In fact, we extended the registration period to accommodate everyone),” said Maleza.

Laborte, on the other hand, urged the 4Ps beneficiaries to respond to DOE’s call for them to avail of the Lifeline Rate.

"Atong pag-awhag sa atoang mga partner beneficiaries sa 4Ps sa pag-adto sa pakigalayon sa atong mga city or municipal links, pwede rapud sila mo didto sa atong nga distribution utilities ug electric cooperatives (We urged our 4Ps beneficiaries to coordinate with their city or municipal links, or they can go to the nearest distribution utility and electric cooperative," said Laborte.

The registration and application period for the Lifeline Rate Subsidy Program has been extended to September this year in order to accommodate more beneficiaries. (RGC/PIA7 Cebu)

About the Author

Robinson Cabardo Jr

Information Officer I

Region 7

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