Power utilities urged to avail of LandBank’s ‘Anti-Bill Shock’

Power utilities urged to avail of LandBank’s ‘Anti-Bill Shock’
SunStar Local News GPX

ELECTRICITY distribution utilities have been urged by the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission to avail themselves of the Anti Bill Shock Lending Program of the Land Bank of the Philippines, to make electricity rates more affordable for consumers.

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael Lotilla, in a statement Friday, May 3, 2024, said their goal is to alleviate the burden on the public due to the anticipated rise in electricity costs, which is driven by increasing temperatures and energy demands in the country.

Launched in April 2023, Landbank’s Anti Bill Shock Lending Program offers financing to distribution utilities at concessional rates. This enables the utilities to distribute the incremental increases in their customers’ billings over up to nine months, without transferring the borrowing cost to consumers who are unable to pay the full cost.

Power distributors can borrow up to 80 percent of the incremental increase on their power generation and transmission charges under the program. However, the loan amount should not exceed the repayment capacity of the distribution utilities or three times the average billings of its power suppliers.

Borrowers are obligated to implement their own “anti-bill shock program” to shield their clients from the anticipated increase in electricity bills. The program is available throughout the year.

According to Landbank’s records, it has already approved P450 million in loans to electricity cooperatives under the program.

‘Win-win solution’

The government-owned bank’s lending program presents a “win-win solution” for both the electricity distribution utilities and the consumers, according to Monalisa Dimalanta, chairperson and chief executive officer of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

The Anti Bill Shock Lending Program is an acronym for “Assistance to Narrow and Trim down the Incremental power cost increase via Bridge financing Initiative of Landbank to Lower and Spread out Hot summer-triggered monthly Consumption on Konsumers’ Electricity.”

For his part, Lotilla said Landbank’s “involvement in this effort is crucial, highlighting our unified stride towards safeguarding the welfare of our citizens.”

The DOE and ERC made the call after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had instructed them to collaborate with other government agencies and stakeholders to help Filipinos not to be burdened by their electricity bills amid the El Niño phenomenon.

State weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has reported that the country may have to endure the blistering heat, forecasting that the heat index spiking between 45 degrees Celsius and 54.8 degrees Celsius in May.

The heat index, also known as the apparent temperature, combines air temperature and humidity to indicate how hot the weather would feel to the human body. / KAL

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