Cebu mayor orders aid for power-A A +A
Monday, August 13, 2012
CEBU CITY – The Cebu City Government wants to help urban poor families gain access to electricity by waiving fees for the issuance of a temporary electrical permit.
If resources would allow it, the City might subsidize the cost of the electricity these families consume.
Mayor Michael Rama recently issued Executive Order (EO) 12-10, which sets the guidelines for the grant of temporary electrical connections to qualified urban poor families.
The mayor calls it the Let There Be Light Program.
In the EO, Rama said the City will waive the fees for the issuance of a temporary electrical permit, to help prevent and discourage the illegal use of electricity.
In the present set-up, the EO said, most of the urban poor families illegally tap their supply of electricity as they are not given permanent electrical permits by the Office of the Building Official (OBO). That’s because they have no permanent dwellings.
The mayor said he believes helping the urban poor families have electricity will address social issues like preventing domestic violence, creating a sense of security at home, and reducing population growth, among others.
“It is the duty of the government to address social issues. It is also the duty of the government to uphold the dignity of the aspiring sector and not to oppress the poor by depriving them of the privilege to light their humble abodes,” the EO stated.
A representative from OBO said that the fee for an electrical permit will depend on the electrical load of the household.
Under Rama’s order, those who want to avail themselves of the electrification program of the City will just have to submit their application to the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP).
DWUP will evaluate the applicant and will then recommend to the city administrator the approval of a temporary electrical permit.
The EO further states that no fees will be collected in relation to the grant of temporary electrical permit.
“If resources would allow and as much as practicable, the City may subsidize the cost of consumption or a portion thereof for a certain period of time as may be determined,” the EO added.
The EO did not state that there is an appropriation available if the City decides to cover the cost of electricity consumed by the urban poor families.
At least two subsidies related to power consumption are already available. The lifeline rate subsidy is the rate charged on “low-income captive market end-users who cannot afford to pay the full cost,” the Energy Regulatory Commission says in its website. The report explained that in the Meralco franchise area, this subsidy is given to residential customers who consume 100 kilowatt hours or less each month.
The interclass subsidy is a reduction in the bill of subsidized customer classes, specifically residential, small industrial, government hospitals and streetlight services; other customers absorb the cost of the subsidy.
The EO covering the electrification program of the City was signed last August 1 and took effect immediately. It will remain effective unless it is declared unconstitutional or revoked.
The program, Rama said, is in line with the general welfare clause of the Local Government Code, which states that the government should provide social welfare services to its constituents.
The electrification program of the City is in addition to the other social services—hospital services, medicine services—that the City provides to the urban poor families. (PDF of Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 13, 2012.