DUs urged to use anti-bill shock lending program to cushion power rates

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The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) urged power distribution utilities to maximize the Anti Bill Shock Lending Program of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) to make electricity rates more economical for consumers.

Under the initiative, distribution utilities are permitted to finance incremental increases in their customers’ bills at flexible rates, allowing them to extend the hikes by up to nine months without charging customers who could not afford to pay the full amount. 

“ANTI BILL SHOCK Lending program of LANDBANK presents a win-win situation for our electric distribution utilities and consumers. It helps ensure sufficient and affordable energy access nationwide, while protecting Filipino households from electricity bill shock during summer season,” said Energy Regulatory Commission Chairperson and CEO Atty. Monalisa C. Dimalanta.

DOE noted that the Anti Bill Shock stood for “Assistance to Narrow and Trim down the Incremental power cost increase via Bridge financing Initiatives of LANDBANK to Lower and Spread out HOt summer-triggered monthly Consumption on Konsumer’s Electricity”. 

Qualified distribution utilities may secure a loan of up to 80% of extra hikes in their power generation and transmission costs; however, the maximum amount that can be borrowed is limited to the distribution utilities’ repayment ability or three times the average billings of their power suppliers. 

Furthermore, in order to shield their respective customers from the anticipated rise in electricity rates, borrowers must put in place their own “anti-bill shock program.” 

“As we confront the challenges of rising temperatures and increased energy demands, we are working closely with other government agencies to ease the burden of Filipino households from the expected surge of electricity costs. LANDBANK’s involvement in this effort is crucial, highlighting our unified stride towards safeguarding the welfare of our citizens,” said Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla. 

As of March 2024, loans from electric cooperatives totaling Php 450 million under the Anti Bill Shock Lending Program had been approved by LANDBANK. 

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