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August 6, 2023 People's Journal 258 views

THE Marcos government is rolling out next month the Lifeline Rate program that will benefit qualified low-income households to help them pay their electricity bills.

The Lifeline Rate is a subsidized rate given to qualified low-income electricity customers who are unable to pay their electricity bills at full cost.

Among the 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)/Electric Cooperative (EC) service per qualified household can be granted a lifeline rate. In case there are more than one beneficiaries who apply for the lifeline rate from the same household, using the same service account, only one application will be granted with lifeline rate while the remaining application/s will be disapproved.

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 (ID) containing the signature and address of the customer.

If the customer is living below the poverty threshold set by the PSA, he or she must submit a certification from the local Social Welfare and Development Office (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.

The power reduction rate varies depending on the prevailing rates of the DUs or ECs.

In the Meralco franchise area, lifeline end-users with zero to 20 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of monthly consumption will be granted a 100-percent discount on the generation charges, including system loss, transmission, and distribution components of their bill, except for the fixed metering charge of PhP5, which means more or less only P20 from their electric bills will be paid.

If they do not avail themselves of the Lifeline Rate through Meralco, they will have to shell out more or less P250.

Customers with 21-50 kWh usage who apply for Lifeline Rate will only pay more or less, PhP300 in their electric bills. Otherwise, they will have to pay the undiscounted amount of around P550, if they do not apply for the Lifeline Rate.

Those with a 51-70 kWh consumption bracket and apply for Lifeline Rate will only be paying around P522.90, but will pay the undiscounted rate of P763.37, if they do not apply for the Lifeline Rate.

Those with 71-100 kWh usage and apply for Lifeline Rate will only pay P904.21, but will pay the undiscounted rate of P1,099.10, if they do not apply for the Lifeline Rate.

The program roll-out has been moved to September 2023 to give qualified customers more time to register.

Based on the data provided by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), as of end July 2023, there are only 12,829 household beneficiaries of 4Ps, out of the 4.2 million household members, which have applied for the Lifeline Rate program.

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

If delisted, the customer may opt to apply for a local SWDO certification if he/she is living below the poverty line and may reapply for Lifeline Rate.

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