January 6, 2011

PHILIPPINES: Senator welcomes 5% seniors' discount for power, water

PASAY CITY, Philippines /  Senate of the Philippines / Press Release / January 6, 2011

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today lauded the announcement of the 5% senior citizens' discount for electricity and power rates by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and major water distribution utilities.

Cayetano is the principal sponsor in the Senate of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 (Republic Act 9994) which laid down several benefits for the country's elderly, including the 5% discount for power and water, as well as a provision exempting them from the 12% expanded value added tax so that they may fully enjoy the 20% senior citizens' discount.

"I welcome the announcement of the 5% discount for water and power rates by ERC and major water companies as part of the benefits under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act. This should give our seniors much-needed relief, even as toll fees, public utility fares and prices of basic goods continue to increase."

"But these benefits, while well-deserved by our lolas and lolos, should be enjoyed responsibly and must not be abused under any circumstances," she cautioned.

"I urge our elderly to fully comply with the requirements to be able to enjoy the discount, and for utility firms to step up their information drive about the discount guidelines to make the application process simpler, faster and easier to understand for our elderly."

As per the guidelines of ERC, senior citizens may avail of the 5% discount if their household monthly electricity consumption does not exceed 100 kilowatt-hours and if the installed electricity meter is registered under the name of the senior citizen.

Distribution utilities, such as Meralco and electric cooperatives, are mandated to give the discount upon their approval of the senior citizens' application.

According to Maynilad, senior citizens may enjoy the 5% discount on water provided that the service connection is classified under residential or semi-business category, registered in the name of the senior citizen, and monthly basic consumption of the account does not exceed 30 cubic meters. Maynilad provides water and wastewater services for the West Zone.

On the other hand, Manila Water Company, which is in charge of the East Zone, has reportedly been implementing the 5% discount to qualified beneficiaries since October last year.

© Senate of the Philippines