The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Wednesday (September 6) said the decision by the tripartite body to delay the full implementation of the new lifeline rate program to January 2024 will allow the enlistment of more beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
“The DSWD welcomes the decision to move to January 2024 the full implementation of the lifeline rate program as this will enable more 4Ps beneficiaries and other qualified poor households to avail of the discounts in their electricity bills,” DSWD Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Romel Lopez said.
Asst. Sec. Lopez, who is also the DSWD spokesperson, noted that the full rollout was supposed to happen this month of September but was extended due to low registration.
“Qualified 4Ps beneficiaries under the lifeline rate program should have a monthly electricity consumption of 100 kWh or below to avail the discount ranging from 20 to 100 percent in their Meralco electricity bills depending on their actual consumption,” the DSWD spokesperson said.
The subsidy is provided under Republic Act (RA) 11552, or an Act Extending and Enhancing the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate, amending for the purpose Section 73 of RA 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.
On Tuesday (Sept. 5) the Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the DSWD signed a tripartite advisory postponing the full rollout of the lifeline rate program to January 2024 to enable more qualified poor households to avail of the cheaper electricity.
The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has intensified the conduct of barangay caravans in different cities and provinces within its franchise area to encourage more 4Ps beneficiaries and other qualified marginalized households to apply.
Asst. Sec Lopez said the DSWD has earlier engaged the Association of Local Social Welfare and Development Offices (ALSWODOPI) “so they can help us in disseminating the Lifeline Subsidy Project and to engage in a data sharing agreement with us for the data of the poor households.”
The DOE said there were 47,171 registrants for the lifeline program as of August 30, which was significantly higher than the earlier reported 1,816 consumers out of 24 million 4Ps beneficiaries nationwide who have applied for the lifeline program as of July 10.
The 4Ps is a human development measure of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to the poorest of the poor, to improve the health, nutrition, and the education of children aged 0-18.
Eligible customers, including 4Ps beneficiaries, can apply by visiting the nearest Meralco Business Center with their completed application form, latest electricity bill, and 4Ps ID.
For non-4Ps beneficiaries, a local social welfare development offices (LSWDO) certification and government ID are needed.
The tripartite body (DSWD, DOE, ERC) said only those who have approved applications shall be entitled to avail of the subsidy provided under the lifeline rate program starting January 1 next year.