By Kris Crismundo

POWER DISCOUNT. Qualified marginalized end-users, or those with monthly power consumption of 100 kilowatt hour and below, are urged to enlist under the lifeline rate discount. Lifeliners can automatically avail of the power subsidy in their monthly electricity bill. (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of Energy (DOE) on Tuesday urged eligible beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to register with their respective power distribution utilities (DUs) to avail of discounts on their monthly electricity bill.

Speaking at the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon forum, DOE Electric Power Industry Management Bureau Director Luningning Baltazar said only 191,399 households out of the 4.2 million 4Ps beneficiaries have registered for the lifeline rate discount as of Dec. 15.

Households that are part of the marginalized sector with monthly electricity consumption below 100 kilowatt hour (kWh) may apply for the program.

According to the 4Ps list of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Baltazar said there are 4.2 million 4Ps beneficiaries that are eligible for the lifeline rate discount.

Those non-4Ps households with electricity consumption of below 100 kWh per month, as long as they are qualified marginalized end-users (QMEs), are also encouraged to enlist for the program.

Since the lifeline rate program will be fully implemented this month, only registered households will have automatic discounts on their electricity bill for January 2024.

“They can still register. So if you are a lifeliner, 4Ps and possibly non-4Ps but consuming less than 100 kWh and your income is below the poverty threshold, we encourage you to register for the lifeline rate program,” Baltazar said.

The discounts under this program depend on the approved threshold set by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) per DU’s franchise area.

For instance, in Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) franchise area, eligible beneficiaries are qualified to get 100 percent lifeline rate discount for households consuming 0 to 20 kWh, 50 percent discount for those consuming 21 to 50 kWh, 35 percent for those consuming 51 to 70 kWh, and 20 percent for those consuming 71 to 100 kWh.

Baltazar said households with less than 20 kWh of electricity consumption would pay around PHP5 to less than PHP10 per month.

She said the non-lifeline rate consumers are the ones that subsidize the QMEs.

She said the subsidy costs less than 10 centavos per monthly bill.

With the low registration for the lifeline rate program, the cost being shouldered by non-QMEs is now less than 6 centavos a month.

Baltazar said the DOE, along with the DUs, will roll out lifeline caravans across the country to enlist qualified beneficiaries for the program.

Republic Act 11552, or an Act Extending and Enhancing the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate, Amending the Purpose Section 73 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, extends the electricity rate discounts to QME for 50 years, or up to 2051. (PNA)