2 million lifeline subsidy beneficiaries need to reapply under new IRR

Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 21 2023 04:23 PM | Updated as of Jun 22 2023 10:21 AM

MANILA (UPDATED/CORRECTED) — Meralco said on Wednesday that some 2 million customers who benefitted from the lifeline subsidy program, which offers discounts for the marginalized for their electricity consumption, would have to reapply following the release of new government guidelines.

Meralco said it is "currently implementing the disqualification of those who are no longer eligible to avail of the lifeline rate and at the same time, to start the acceptance and processing of applications for those who seek to avail of the discount."

This is based on the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law meant to enhance the implementation of the lifeline rate, it said

Some of those removed from the program are those living in condominiums, subdivisions or villages, and those with net metering.

The Lifeline Rate offers subsidy to qualified low-income electricity customers who are financially unable to pay their bills at full cost. Those under the lifeline subsidy program enjoy discounts ranging from 20 percent to 100 percent on their electric bills.

Sample subsidies are as follows:

0-20 kWh =100 percent subsidy
21-50 kWh = 50 percent subsidy
51-70 kWh = 35 percent subsidy
71-100 kWh = 20 percent subsidy

According to the Energy Regulatory Commission's updated rule, only beneficiaries of 4Ps could avail of the lifeline rate program to ensure that the support goes to eligible consumers.

ERC Chair Monalisa Dimalanta said this would ensure that only the poor could enjoy the subsidy given by other customers of the utility or electric cooperatives.

To qualify, a consumer must belong to the marginalized sector such as 4Ps and only consume up to 100kwh per month.


Meanwhile, the ERC has released the list of electric coops in Luzon which have not submitted documents related to all pass thru charges to consumers.

Dimalanta said the submission of these charges that are passed on to consumers was important in order to check whether the charges were justified or had a basis.

Majority of the utilities and coops have submitted but 20 have failed to beat the deadline.

These include:

1. Abra Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ABRECO)
2. Albay Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ALECO)
3. First Bay Power Corporation (FBPC)
4. First Laguna Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FLECO)
5. Ibaan Electric Corporation (IEC)
6. Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (INEC)
7. Isabela I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ISELCO I)
8. Isabela II Electric Cooperative (ISELCO II)
9. Kalinga-Apayao Electric Cooperative, Inc. (KAELCO)
10. Masbate Electric Cooperative, Inc. (MASELCO)
11. Nueva Ecija I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NEECO I)
12. Nueva Vizcaya Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NUVELCO)
13. Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ORMECO)
14. Pangasinan I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (PANELCO I)
15. Pampanga II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (PELCO II)
16. Quirino Electric Cooperative, Inc. (QUIRELCO)
17. San Fernando Electric Light & Power Company Inc. (SFELAPCO)
18. Ticao Island Electric Cooperative, Inc. (TISELCO)
19. Zambales I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZAMECO I)
20. Zambales II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZAMECO II)

According to Dimalanta, these coops faced the possibility of not being allowed to include pass thru charges to their consumers if they continue to fail to submit justification. 

"This measure ensures accountability and serves as a safeguard against undue burdens on electricity consumers," the ERC said.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story erroneously attributed the statement on the untagging of customers from the lifeline subsidy program to the Energy Regulatory Commission. It was Meralco that mentioned it. We apologize for the error.