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Coops go full blast to subsidize power bills of 3-M customers

By Myrna M. Velasco

The country’s 121 electric cooperatives will go full blast on their drive to subsidize the power bills of more than 3.0 million marginalized and lockdown-snagged electricity consumers in various parts of the country.

The ECs will be carrying out this extraordinary corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative through the collaborative efforts of their league’s various associations – namely the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (PHILRECA) as well as the National Association of General Managers of Electric Cooperatives (NAGMEC); and as approved by the EC Board of Directors under the Philippine Association of Board of Directors of Rural Electric Cooperatives.

The subsidy scheme, as helmed under their self-designed ‘Pantawid Liwanag’ program targets to “provide electricity bill subsidy to more than 3.0 million consumers across the country.”

PHILRECA announced that P365 million had already been earmarked by ECs to bankroll this subsidy program, primarily to shield underprivileged consumers from further financial pain following the enforcement of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“At least 3 million consumers do not have to worry about their electricity bills this quarantine period. They do not have to be concerned about how to pay for their electricity consumption – a basic need – as their electric cooperatives will be paying for their bills through the Pantawid Liwanag program,” PHILRECA stressed.

As qualified by the aggrupation of the ECs though, “different electric cooperatives may have different parameters on how to implement the program,” although such initiatives are glued by “the common objective of helping member-consumer-owners mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In advancing this trump card for the financially frail or poor consumers, PHILRECA emphasized that while the needed financial resources topped quarter of a billion pesos, the ECs are nonchalant that the grail is achievable.

And as Herculean as the task may seem, the electric cooperatives conveyed that they can just dismiss incredulity at this point relative to the concretization of the subsidy goal.

“Considering that electric cooperatives are non-profit in nature, you could not blame critics and cynics to doubt the success of this endeavor,” PHILRECA averred.

In fact, it noted that their first ever challenge was cornering the participation of all of their member-ECs in the “Pantawid Liwanag” subsidy program, but in the end, they were able to flourish on that terrain.

“We may not have huge cash flows to allow us to extend as much assistance as we really want to our member-consumer-owners, but we will give everything that we can to assist the marginalized consumers who are really the ones vulnerable to this crisis,” PHILRECA stressed.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://business.mb.com.ph/2020/04/28/coops-go-full-blast-to-subsidize-power-bills-of-3-m-customers/)

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