Duterte OKs extension of electricity 'lifeline rate' for poorest households

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Posted at May 31 2021 06:54 PM

Duterte OKs extension of electricity 'lifeline rate' for poorest households 1
Linemen work on electric cables in Purok 2, Barangay Culiat Quezon City on Dec. 30, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved into law the extension of the "lifeline" or subsidized electricity rate for the poorest households, according to a document that Malacañang released on Monday. 

Duterte signed Republic Act 11552 that amends the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2011, under which the lifeline rate provision would expire on June 26 this year.

"A socialized pricing mechanism called a lifeline rate for qualified marginalized end-users shall be set by the ERC which will exempted from the cross subsidy phaseout under this Act for a period of fifty (50) years, unless otherwise extend by law," reads part of the amendment. 

This is "to provide assistance to electricity consumers, especially those living below the poverty line, and to achieve a more equitable distribution of the lifeline subsidy," adds the law. 

Lifeline beneficiaries will include those covered by the conditional cash transfer program Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino, or those who are certified by their respective distribution utilities as under the poverty threshold. 

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Some 5.5 million households will benefit from the pricing mechanism and have an estimated annual saving of P900 on electricity expenses, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian earlier said. 

They consume 100 kilowatt hour or less per month, said Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate energy committee. 

The lifeline rate subsidy being paid by non-lifeline consumers in the Meralco franchise is Php 0.0478 per kWh, added the lawmaker. 

This is the second time the lifetime rate provision was extended. It was first extended for 10 years in 2011.

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