DOE extends no disconnection policy for ‘lifeliners’

Published February 6, 2021, 5:11 PM

by Betheena Kae Unite

Struggling households may now heave a sigh of relief.

A “no disconnection” policy for “lifeliners” or low-income consumers will be implemented until March by the Department of Energy (DoE) in a bid to help them recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

Department of Energy (DoE) (MANILA BULLETIN)
Department of Energy (DoE) (MANILA BULLETIN)

In an advisory on February 5, the department told all distribution utilities (DUs) not to cut the electricity service of lifeline customers, at least for the meantime. 

“All DUs are hereby directed to implement a No Disconnection Policy due to non-payment of bills falling due by March 2021 for all electricity consumers whose consumption level are within the lifeline rate set by the Energy Regulatory Commission for the DU’s franchise area,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.

The policy shall apply to all unpaid regular bills and installment payments, Cusi added.

It was furthered that all electricity consumers, both lifeline and non-lifeline, who are still unable to pay “may coordinate with their DUs to enter into a socially equitable and manageable payment terms to prevent eventual disconnection of  electricity services.”

The consumers who are capable of paying, on the other hand, were encouraged to settle their bills within the original due dates “to help manage the cash flow in the energy supply chain and ensure the continuous supply of electricity.”

The ERC in October 2020 prevented power distributors from disconnecting accounts of lifeliners due to non-payment of bills amid the pandemic.