HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin G. Romualdez on Tuesday lauded President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte for signing a law extending the electricity lifeline rates for the benefit of 5.5 million low-income consumers in the next 30 years.
“We really need this law to ensure a subsidized rate in electricity bills for poor households, especially now that our kababayans are still reeling from the economic devastation caused by the pandemic,” Romualdez said.
“Allowing poor households access to the lifeline rate is Congress’ malasakit under the leadership of Speaker Lord Alan Velasco and continued commitment of President Duterte to provide assistance to low-income families,” he added.
Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) No. 115521 on May 27, 2021 amending section 73 of the Electronic Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) law.
“In order to provide assistance to electricity consumers, especially those living below the poverty line, and to achieve a more equitable distribution of the lifeline subsidy, a socialized pricing mechanism called a lifeline rate for qualified marginalized end-users shall be set by the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) which shall be exempted from the cross-subsidy phase-out under this Act for a period of 50 years unless otherwise extended by law,” the law said.
Velasco also hailed Duterte’s signing into law of the “lifeline rate” for low-income households.
“We thank PRRD for ensuring that poor families will continue to enjoy the much-needed power subsidy for the next three decades,” said Velasco, who vigorously pushed the measure in the House of Representatives when he was chair of the House committee on energy.
Velasco said the bill is “a shoo-in to make the Duterte administration’s best legislative legacy list.”
“This important legislation would assure Filipinos access to continuous and affordable electricity, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic where many people are struggling to make ends meet,” the House chief added.
Velasco said around 5.5 million lifeline rate consumers, representing about 31 percent of the entire connections in the country, would benefit from RA 11552.
The new law amends RA 10150 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2011, under which the lifeline rate provision would expire on June 26 this year.
It extends for the second time the socialized pricing system for marginalized households under Section 73 of the original EPIRA law or RA 9136.
The lifeline subsidy, given to households consuming not more than 100 kilowatt hour or less per month, was first approved for 10 years under RA 9136 in 2001. It was extended for another 10 years under RA 10150 in 2011.