To ensure that low-income users of electricity continue to receive discounted rates, Senator TG Guingona today sponsored Senate Bill No. 2846 which seeks to extend the lifeline rate privilege which will expire on June 26, 2011. The same bill has been certified urgent by the President and approved on third reading by the Senate.
“The lifeline rate is for users who cannot afford to pay at full cost, especially when the cost of electricity spirals out of control,” Guingona pointed out.
“When the price of electricity increases, it is the poor who are immediately and adversely affected.” Guingona added.
Under the EPIRA, a “lifeline rate for the marginalized end-users shall be set by the ERC which shall be exempted from the cross-subsidy phase-out.”
For MERALCO users, the lifeline rate has a graduated coverage:
Customers with an average monthly consumption of 1-20 kWh are free of charge; Customers with an average monthly consumption of 21 to 50 kWh are getting 50% discount; Customers with an average monthly consumption of 51-70 kWh are getting 35% discount; and Customers with an average monthly consumption of 71 to 100 kWh are getting 20% discount.
Guingona emphasized that the bill “seeks only to extend the lifeline rate privilege and not to increase the burden to the subsidizing users.” (press release sent to BukidnonOnline.com by the Office of Senator TG Guingona III)
*** Guingona used to be the Bukidnon Second District congressman before he became a senator.