DoE blames metering problems for low lifeline rate registration

DoE blames metering problems for low lifeline rate registration

THE Department of Energy (DoE) said registration for the lifeline rate program has been hindered by the practice of several households sharing power meters, making consumption by eligible users difficult to track.

Luningning G. Baltazar, director of the DoE’s Electric Power Industry Management Bureau, said users who would otherwise qualify for the lifeline rate cannot register because their homes did not have a dedicated meter.

“We will look into how we can address this issue,” Ms. Baltazar told government television network on Tuesday.

She added that registering as a group of households would bring many poor users above the lifeline consumption threshold, making them ineligible for subsidized power rates.

“We still encourage them to register since we are still studying the question of what would be the appropriate threshold,” she said.

The lifeline rate applies to users with a monthly power consumption of 100 kilowatt-hours or less. Under the revised rules, customers living in condominiums, subdivisions, and those with net-metering services do not qualify for the lifeline rate even if their consumption falls below the threshold.

Also, eligible for lifeline rates are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and qualified marginalized end-user applicants who are not 4Ps beneficiaries but belong to a household of at least five members in which the combined monthly income is no more than P12,030.

Citing ERC data, Ms. Baltazar said that about 191,399 4Ps members were registered for the program as of Dec. 15. However, she said that the full list of 4Ps members is about 4.2 million, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The ERC said in an advisory last week that the full implementation of the program starts on Jan. 1.

“We will continue to do the lifeline caravan, information campaign so that many will be aware of the program,” Ms. Baltazar said. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera