Senator Win Gatchalian said low-income households can look forward to a continued subsidy in their electricity consumption bills in the next 10 years.
Senate Bill No. 1877, the measure extending the implementation of subsidized electricity rate to marginalized end-users, particularly those households consuming not more than 100 kilowatt hour (kWh) or less per month, was passed on third and final reading today.
“Malaking kaluwagan ito sa mga kababayan nating patuloy na nagdarahop dala ng kawalan ng pinagkakakitaan na lalo pang pinalala ng nararanasan nating pandemya. Sa pamamagitan ng panukalang ito, makakaasa silang hindi mapuputol ang ayudang tinatamasa ng dalawang dekada na,” Gatchalian said.
The Senate Energy Committee Chairman remains optimistic that the bill will see its enactment before the expiration of the Lifeline Rate provision under Section 73 of Republic Act No. 10150 otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 on June 26 this year.
If passed into law, some 5.5 million households stand to benefit from the socialized pricing mechanism until June 2031 and have an estimated annual savings of P900 on electricity expenses, Gatchalian said.
Under the bill, qualified marginalized end-users are either those who are household-beneficiaries under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), or who have applied and have been certified by their respective distribution utilities based on criteria set by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), taking into account the poverty threshold set by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
This will be the second time that the Lifetime Rate provision will be given a 10-year extension. It was first extended for 10 years in 2011.
The lifeline rate subsidy being paid by non-lifeline consumers in the Meralco franchise is Php 0.0478 per kWh.