Bill extending lifeline power rate subsidies filed in Senate

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday said he has filed a bill seeking to extend the implementation of the lifeline power rate subsidies.

In a statement, Gatchalian said he filed Senate Bill No. 1583 which proposes to extend for another 20 years the lifeline rate subsidies to provide continuous relief to marginalized households or those who consume 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) or less per month.

The bill also seeks to further amend Section 73 of Republic Act 9136 or the Electricity Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA).

Under the EPIRA law, the lifeline rate or a subsidized rate was given for a period of 10 years to low-income captive market end-users who cannot afford to pay at full cost.

In 2011, the lifeline rate has been extended until 2021, by virtue of RA No. 10150. The law mandates the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to set the lifeline rate for low-income households.

With the lifeline-rate subsidy set to expire next year, Gatchalian stressed the urgent need to further extend subsidies to help low-income power consumers up until 2041.

“The spirit of this measure is to really cushion the blow of power-rate increases to marginalized households who cannot afford to pay the full cost of their electricity bill,” said Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate energy committee.

“We already made strides in breaking that barrier to access electricity through the lifeline-rate subsidies and there’s no turning back now,” he added.

At present, customers with an average monthly consumption of 21 to 50kWh are entitled to a 50-percent discount while those consuming an average of 51-70 kWh will get a 35-percent discount.

On the part of those who consume an average monthly electricity of 71 to 100 kWh, they are entitled to a 20-percent discount.

Gatchalian said the lifeline rate has benefited numerous low-income households through the years.

In the Meralco franchise alone, 2,410,974 households availed of the lifeline rate in 2019 saving them P3.8 billion. This translates to P1,576 annual savings for each of these households.

The post Bill extending lifeline power rate subsidies filed in Senate appeared first on UNTV News.