All 121 electric cooperatives supervised by the National Electrification Administration will shell out an initial P365 million to cover the electricity bills of three million customers incurred during the enhanced community quarantine.

According to the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (Philreca), which spearheaded the campaign with help from the National Association of General Managers of Electric Cooperatives, the project called Pantawid Liwanag effectively subsidizes the electricity consumption of the cooperative’s member customers.

“Different electric cooperatives may have different parameters on how to implement the program, but they all have the common objective of helping member consumer-owners mitigate the effects of the [new coronavirus disease] COVID-19 pandemic,” Philreca said in a statement.

With the cooperatives being nonprofit and with such a huge budget needed for Pantawid Liwanag, Philreca said it was understandable that “critics and cynics [would] doubt the success of this endeavor.”

“[W]e did not immediately expect 100-percent participation for various reasons, [but] in one way or another, COVID-19 affected all of us from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” the group said.

According to Phireca, “at least three 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,” it added. INQ

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