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DSWD to 4Ps, sub-poverty power users: 'Avail of lifeline rates subsidy'

CORTES, Bohol, September 24 (PIA) -- There is still time for qualified marginalized power consumers to get listed and enjoy discounted power rates through the government’s lifeline rate subsidy program.

This is according to Lester Laborte, head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development's (DSWD) National Household Targeting System (NHTS) during the recent Kapihan sa PIA as he shared the good news from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

Both ERC and NEA have put up an enhanced law in partnership with the DSWD and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to give power usage subsidy for qualified marginalized power end-users a non-monetary discount, as long as they are registered by their power distribution utilities.

The subsidy is provided under Republic Act 11552 or an Act Extending and Enhancing the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate.

This provision has amended, for the Purpose Section 73 of RA 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.

Set for implementation in August, the lifeline power subsidy was moved to September.

But when the government saw that there still needs time for marginalized power users to register in the program, both ERC and NEA decided jointly to implement the program by January 2024.

For this, they also directed power distribution utilities to take the initiative in identifying and validating additional beneficiaries from the NHTS for poverty reduction list or otherwise called the Listahanan.

The move is designed to help Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries enjoy more savings with the discounts.

But the government still see they could extend further the help to beneficiaries who are still below the poverty threshold but have been excluded in the Listahanan 3 for the 4Ps, Laborte said.

The lifeline or subsidized rates are given to low-income customers consuming electricity below the distribution utilities’ pegged number of kilowatt-hours per month usage, and those that consume a little bit over the threshold can avail of discounts.

With the implementation schedule reset, eligible families could apply until the launch by accomplishing their Lifeline Rate Application Form and submitting them to their Distribution Utilities or Electric Cooperatives along with their recent electric bill and present any valid government-issued ID with their signature and address.

On the other hand, clients living below the poverty threshold but have not been included as 4Ps can get a certification from the local Social Welfare and Development Office (LSWDO), go to their distribution utilities and apply for the lifeline rate subsidy while presenting a valid government-issued ID  and the recent power consumption bill, Laborte said.

In Bohol, power is distributed by distribution utilities like Bohol Electric Cooperative I and II and Bohol Light Company Incorporated.

Bohol Light Company Incorporated’s Lifeline ceiling rate is 75 kilowatts per month, where those beneficiaries who can avail of the program are only made to pay the fixed a minimal metering charge and could get heavy discounts if their power consumption is below 75 kilowatts.

For BOHECO 1, the lifeline ceiling is a consumption of 17 kilowatts, while BOHECO II is 17 kilowatts per month.   

The distribution utilities are likewise told by both agencies to submit a report on the number of qualified marginalized end-users who have availed themselves of the lifeline rate program every end of the month starting January 2024.

Only those who have approved applications shall be entitled to avail of the subsidy provided under the lifeline rate program starting January 1, 2024, DSWD said. (RAHC/PIA-7 Bohol)

DSWD NHTS head for Central Visayas Lester Laborte, calling on 4Ps beneficiaries and those below poverty threshold qualified beneficiaries to get listed by their distribution utilities and enjoy discounts in power bill payments during the recent Kapihan sa PIA held September 14, 2023 at the PIA Bohol studio. (PIA Bohol)

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Rey Anthony Chiu

Regional Editor

Region 7

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