THE PROPOSED law that will extend the lifeline rates for the poor until 2051 has been ratified by the Senate, placing the measure up for President Rodrigo R. Dutertes approval. 

The Senate ratified the bicameral committee report in its last plenary session on Wednesday before the congressional recess until May 17. 

The Senate approved Senate Bill 1877 and House Bill 8145 that would amend Section 73 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) Law.

Lifeline rate is a subsidy provided to qualified marginalized consumers who cannot pay at full cost. The subsidy will be shouldered by non-lifeline rate consumers.

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chair of the committee on energy, said the approved bicameral report added another criterion for those who will be eligible to the lifeline rate, which is the power consumption level of the household, should be continuously within the threshold to be determined by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

He also said the extension of the lifeline rate will have minimal impact on non-lifeline rate consumers, citing an estimate by the Energy department that they would only be paying P0.0087 per kilowatt hour by 2051 for the subsidy.

In short, the relief provided to millions of poor households through this extension will far outweigh the minimal cost shouldered by more affluent consumers,Mr. Gatchalian said.

The changes in the bicam report as discussed will allow for the even more efficient and fiscally responsible implementation of the extended lifeline rate,he added.

The House of Representatives ratified the bicameral committee report last Monday. Vann Marlo M. Villegas