The ‘power’ of information

The ‘power’ of information

It is truly baffling why those who really need it the most do not bother to take advantage of the discounts made available by the government in their payment of bills like electricity. The lifeline discounts offered by power distribution companies are specifically designed to assist marginalized and low-income consumers who are struggling to meet their basic needs. However, despite the availability of these discounts, many eligible consumers continue to overlook the benefits that could greatly ease their financial burden.

In the City of San Fernando, Pampanga, the San Fernando Electric Light and Power Company (SFELAPCO) is taking proactive steps to encourage eligible consumers to avail themselves of the lifeline discounts. They are reaching out to barangay officials to help disseminate information about the lifeline discounts to their communities. The lifeline rate is a discounted rate available to qualified marginalized SFELAPCO consumers, especially those living below the poverty line and those with monthly electricity consumption not exceeding 70 kWh. Under RA 11552, qualified marginalized end-users include members of the 4Ps program and those living below the poverty threshold set by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Lifeline discounts are mandated under Philippine laws to mitigate the impact of rising power rates on the most vulnerable members of society. The discounts are there to provide much financial relief to those who are struggling to make ends meet. By reducing their electricity expenses, eligible consumers could potentially ease the burden of rising power rates. But, despite the clear benefits, many eligible consumers do not take advantage of the discounts that are available to them.

One of the main reasons for this underutilization of lifeline discounts is the lack of awareness. Many eligible consumers simply do not know that these discounts exist or how to apply for them. This is where the involvement of barangay officials becomes indispensable. By working with these local leaders, SFELAPCO hopes to ensure that residents are well-informed and able to take advantage of the lifeline discounts that are available to them. The power company is seeking the support of barangay officials to effectively communicate the availability of lifeline discounts to the community.

The application process for lifeline discounts is relatively simple and requires only a few documentary requirements.

For 4Ps members, the requirements are the most recent SFELAPCO bill and a validly issued government ID or 4Ps ID. For those living below the poverty threshold set by the PSA, the requirements are the most recent SFELAPCO bill, a validly issued government ID, and a certification from the local social welfare and development office confirming their status.

The public must be reminded that beginning January 2024, only those qualified consumers whose applications have been approved may avail of the lifeline discount so consumers must take the necessary steps to apply for the discount as soon as possible.

Lifeline discounts are a valuable opportunity for eligible consumers to reduce their electricity expenses and ease the burden of rising power rates. With all the prices or commodities skyrocketing, to have this kind of cushion to the wallet will empower the underprivileged.


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