“The poor should not be powerless.”
This, said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Sunday, is the rationale behind the President’s approval of Department of Energy (DOE) recommendations that seek to ease the financial burden of power consumers with little or no incomes.
Nograles had earlier announced that the President had ordered the extension of the no-disconnection policy of “lifeliners” or households that consume minimal amounts of electricity a month, as well as urged Congress to extend the benefits of lifeliners until 2051.
According to the Palace official, “an important, critical benefit are the discounts that lifeliners currently enjoy under Republic Act 10150, a law that amended the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act ) and extended the implementation of the lifeline rate until June 2021.”
“This is why we welcome the action Congress has taken on pending legislative proposals to extend the lifeline rates, particularly its decision to extend the rates for another 30 years, just as the President requested.
The discounts, explained Nograles, depend on the amount of electricity consumed by households, and vary from area to area.
“The government believes that power is a basic need that Filipino families cannot live without, which is why we believe that steps should be taken to make it more accessible to our less fortunate countrymen,” stressed the former legislator from Davao.
Nograles pointed out that DOE estimates “show that providing these discounts to underprivileged households will not hurt the bottomlines of power distributors, as lifeliners account for only 3% of electricity sales.”
“As a consequence of extending the lifeline rates, low-income households will not have to spend much for electricity––and instead will be able to spend more for other basic needs, like food,” added Nograles.
“Malaking tulong po ito, at nagpapasalamat po tayo sa mga kasama natin mula sa Kongreso. Pinapakita lang po dito na kailangan natin magtulungan upang tugunan ang problema ng kahirapan––upang mapagaan ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan.” ###