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IRR on subsidy for poor electricity users signed

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) No. 11552 otherwise known as An Act Extending and Enhancing the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate.

The law ensures the fair and equitable implementation of the lifeline subsidy among qualified marginalized electricity end-users.

“The IRR is the product of effective inter-agency collaboration to deliver better public service. We are looking forward to its successful implementation,” ERC Chairman and CEO Monalisa Dimalanta said.

The ERC is entrusted to determine the new lifeline level, provide criteria for qualifications of a marginalized end-user to avail of lifeline discount rates and monitor compliance to the implementation of the program, among others.

DSWD Undersecretary for Special Concerns Vilma B. Cabrera said the agency is committed to aid the energy sector in identifying the beneficiaries of the lifeline subsidy. It shall provide the list of qualified household-beneficiaries nationwide using a standard targeting system in order to ensure a uniform and objective procedure of identifying potential beneficiaries.

The DSWD is also tasked to submit an annual list of qualified household-beneficiaries under the 4Ps Act to the DOE and ERC.

“DSWD commits to assist in the implementation of the rules and regulations and identify qualified beneficiaries,” she said.

The DOE is tasked to formulate and promulgate policy guidelines deemed necessary to ensure that the law and its IRR are being lawfully implemented.

For his part, DOE Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla recalled the principles behind the provision on lifeline rate subsidy under RA 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) of 2001.

“The lifeline rate program in the Philippines is one of the best designed lifeline rate programs in the world; ours is better targeted,” he said.

RA 11552 amended Sec 73 of Epira, extending it from a period of 20 years to 50 years, allowing marginalized electricity end-users to continue to benefit from the subsidy provided under the lifeline program.

Based on ERC records, for the first semester of this year, the lifeline program provided an average monthly subsidy of P541 million to almost 6 million marginalized electricity end-users in the entire country. The actual discounts to end-users will depend on the lifeline program per Distribution Utility approved by the ERC.

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