Expanded power electronic vouchers pushed for households on lockdown

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A lawmaker on Saturday proposed the implementation of an expanded “Pantawid Kuryente” program that will provide electronic discount vouchers to consumers in areas affected by the lockdowns in the country.

In a statement, House of Representatives’ Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera-Dy asked the Departments of Social Welfare, Energy, Finance and other concerned agencies to “swiftly revive and expand the program to include not just the lifeline consumers, but also households with monthly electric consumption of less than 200 kilowatts per hour (kWh).”

“Pantawid Kuryente can be in the form of electronic vouchers the DoF can directly send to the account of electricity consumers in the NCR (National Capital Region) Plus,” Herrera-Dy said.

“If more funds are available, the scope can include [local government units] which were under [enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ)] in 2020,” she added.

Herrera-Dy proposed that a 100-percent one-month discount be given to households with electric consumption of up to 50 kWh, while those with less than 200 kWh receive a 25-percent discount. Residents consuming 100 to 150 kWh monthly may get a 50 or 75 percent discount, respectively.

The House leader added that additional funding for the program may come from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) rebates and fines.

“The DoF may apply a different graduated scale of electricity bill discounts depending on available national government funds,” the Bagong Henerasyon party-list lawmaker said. “[LGUs] can pitch in with their own electricity electronic vouchers ranging from ₱500 to ₱2,000, depending on their available local funds and with the Local Government Code as legal basis.”

Aside from the LGUs, state-run Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and Pag-IBIG may also provide Pantawid Kuryente vouchers for their respective members, said Herrera-Dy.

“Kailangan ang Pantawid Kuryente ngayon dahil nalunod na ng overdue electricity bills ang maraming pamilyang Pilipino. Mabawasan man lang kahit konti ang pasanin nila, malaking tulong na iyon (We need the Pantawid Kuryente program now because many Filipino families have drowned from overdue electricity bills. If we can at least ease their burden, that’s a big help already),” she said, reiterating that the cash aid currently being distributed in the NCR Plus is “not enough.”

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