MANILA – The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have extended the registration of eligible beneficiaries for the lifeline rate program until next year.

In a tripartite advisory on Tuesday, the agencies said the full implementation of the new lifeline rate program has been moved to January 2024.

“Starting 1 January 2024, only those who have approved applications shall be entitled to avail of the subsidy provided under the Lifeline Rate Program,” the advisory read.

The agencies said they have also observed “a noticeable increase in the number of qualified marginalized end-users (QMEs)” that registered for the program.

According to DOE, 47,171 QMEs have registered as of Aug. 30 from only 1,816 consumers that applied for the program last July 10.

“All distribution utilities (DUs) are directed to exert more aggressive promotion efforts to disseminate information on the Lifeline Rate Program and to continue processing and accepting applications,” the advisory said.

The power subsidy is provided under Republic Act (RA) No. 11552, or an Act Extending and Enhancing the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate, Amending the Purpose Section 73 of RA 1396, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

The policy extended the electricity rate discounts to DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries for 50 years. (PNA)