So, are you a ‘lifeliner?’

Published February 7, 2021, 1:33 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Power distributors–on orders from the national government–have given a lot of slack to lifeliners when it comes to the payment of their electricity bills. But who exactly are these lifeliners?

(Photo by Jansen Romero / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The easy definition is that lifeliners are those who consume less than 100 kilowatt hours of electricity a month, but are still unable to pay especially amid the pandemic.

Department of Energy (DoE) Spokesperson Felix William Fuentebella, in an interview over DZBB Sunday, February 7, bared the usual lifestyle cues that these lifeliners have.

“Kadalasan ito yung may mga radyo sa bahay, maliit na TV, at tsaka madalas may tatlo, apat na bumbilya. 100 percent may electric fan yan, 60 percent may radyo. Yan yung datos natin. Around 60 percent din may TV. Wala silang ref. Ganun yung picture niya (Usually, these are the people who have a radio, a small TV, and three or four bulbs installed at home. 100 percent of them have electric fans, 60 percent have radios. That is our data. Around 60 percent of them have TV. They don’t have a ref. That is their picture),” he said.

“Ibig sabihin ito yung mga tao na talagang hindi magastos kasi sa appliance pa lang makikita mo na. Ito yung simpleng pamumuhay, payak na pamumuhay. Yung trabaho nila ay good for the day (This means that these are the people who aren’t big spenders, as seen with the appliances they own. They lead a simple life. Their earnings are just good for the day),” he further explained.

President Duterte last week approved the DoE’s proposal to extend the no disconnection policy for lifeliners up to the February billing date in order to give the low-income families more time to pay their past bills. Fuentebella said DoE and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) first sought this grace period from power distributors in March 2020, or upon the declaration of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Pero pagdating ng billing ng March, eh hindi pa rin kaya magbayad, eh makipag-usap po sa DU (distribution utility), sa Meralco po o sa cooperative para sa installment payment (But if you still can’t pay upon the arrival of the March billing, then please talk to your DU, to Meralco, or power cooperative to facilitate installment payment),” Fuentebella said.