MANILA – The government will begin rolling out next month its Lifeline Rate program that will aid low-income households pay their electricity bills.

The program is a subsidized rate given to qualified low-income electricity customers who could not pay their electricity bills at full cost.

Beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) or those living below the poverty threshold set by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) can apply for the program.

Only one Distribution Utility (DU)/Electric Cooperative (EC) service per qualified household, however can be granted a lifeline rate.

Only one application for each household will be granted with the lifeline rate.

To apply for the program, beneficiaries should submit to the DU and EC their duly accomplished Lifeline Rate application forms, most recent electricity bills, and any valid government-issued identification cards with the signature and address of the applicant.

If the customer is living below the poverty threshold set by the PSA, the applicant must submit a certification from the local Social Welfare and Development Office (SWDO) issued within the last six months showing that the family income is below the poverty threshold applicable at the time of application.

The rollout of the program has been moved to September to allow qualified customers more time to register.

Data from the Energy Regulatory Commission showed that as of July 31 this year, there are only 12,829 household beneficiaries of 4Ps, out of the 4.2 million household members, who have applied for the Lifeline Rate program.

The Lifeline Rate Program validity is based on the annual certified list of 4Ps beneficiaries provided by DSWD.

A qualified customer is eligible to receive the Lifeline Rate if he or she remains on the updated list.

If delisted, the customer may opt to apply for a local SWDO certification if he or she is living below the poverty line and may reapply for Lifeline Rate.

For non-4Ps beneficiaries, Lifeline Rate will have a three-year validity from the date of issuance of certification by the local SWDO.

The power reduction rate varies depending on the prevailing rates of the DUs or ECs.

In the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) franchise area, lifeline end-users with zero to 20 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of monthly consumption will be granted a 100-percent discount on the generation charges, including system loss, transmission, and distribution components of their bill, except for the fixed metering charge of PHP5, which means more or less only PHP20 from their electric bills will be paid.

If they do not avail of the Lifeline Rate through Meralco, they will have to pay more or less PHP250.

Under the program, customers who use 21-50 kWh will only pay more or less PHP300 while those with a 51-70 kWh consumption bracket will shell out around PHP522.90.

Those consuming 71-100 kWh meanwhile will only pay PHP904.21 instead of the undiscounted rate of PHP1,099.10 if they do not apply for the Lifeline Rate. (PNA)