Wider Coverage of Power Rate Scheme Ordered

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Byline: GENALYN D. KABILING

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday ordered the expansion of the governments lifeline rate structure to allow more poor households to enjoy discounted electricity rates.

The President directed the Department of Energy (DoE) to raise the coverage of the discounts granted to poor households that use less than 100 kilowatt hour (kwh) a month to ensure that more small electricity consumers are shielded from the hikes in power rates.

"I have instructed the Secretary of Finance (Cesar Purisima), he is supposed to instruct (Energy) Secretary (Raphael) Lotilla, to see the expansion of coverage of lifeline rates, in other words, raise the threshold from 100 kwh to something higher so that more poor people can benefit from this lifeline rate," she said in a press conference during a visit in the province of Cebu.

Mrs. Arroyo flew to Cebu yesterday morning to witness the laying of the submarine cable of the $68.5-million National Transmission Commission (Transco) Cebu-Leyte power interconnection uprating project at Transcos Talisay Cable Terminal Station in Barangay Talisay, Daanbantayan, Cebu.

In Meralco (Manila Electric Company) franchise areas, households that consume 50 kwh or below monthly are entitled to 50 percent discount on their billing, while those who consume between 51-70 kwh and 71-100 kwh enjoy 35 percent and 20 percent discounts, respectively. …