DOE urges power distributors to tap Landbank’s anti-bill shock loan

By Kris Crismundo

May 3, 2024, 7:00 pm

<p><em>File photo</em></p>

File photo

MANILA – The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) urged private distribution utilities (DUs) and electric cooperatives (ECs) to tap the "Anti-Bill Shock" Lending Program of the Land Bank of the Philippines.

In a news release Friday, the DOE said Landbank’s Anti-Bill Shock, or the "Assistance to Narrow and Trim down the Incremental power cost increase via Bridge financing Initiatives of Landbank to Lower and Spread HOt summer-triggered monthly Consumption on Konsumer’s Electricity," could make electricity rates affordable for consumers.

“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,” DOE Secretary Raphael Lotilla said.

“Landbank’s involvement in this effort is crucial, highlighting our unified stride towards safeguarding the welfare of our citizens,” Lotilla added.

The Anti-Bill Shock Lending Program is a short-term loan facility that extends working capital among DUs and ECs while they allow their electricity customers to pay their bills in installment during the period of higher power consumption and rates.

Under the loan program, DUs and ECs can loan up to 80 percent of the incremental increase in electricity consumption of consumers but not to exceed repayment capacity and three times the billing of power suppliers.

The loan is payable for 270 days, and can be renewed for another 90 days.

It has an interest rate of 6.5 to 7 percent per annum fixed for one year subject to repricing based on BVAL plus spread based on credit rating.

With the granting of loan, the borrowers shall implement their own “anti-bill shock program” to protect their customers from the expected hike in electricity bills.

"The 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 when power consumption is expected to surge,” ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Monalisa Dimalanta said.

Landbank launched the lending service in April 2023, with an initial allocation of PHP1.5 billion.

The state-run bank has already approved PHP450 million in loans to ECs as of March this year.

“The Anti-Bill Shock Program forms part of Landbank’s commitment to advancing the country’s energy sector by making more accessible to power distribution companies and other players in the industry. We are poised to forge deeper collaborations within the sector, advocating for the interests of both energy providers and consumers,” Landbank president and CEO Lynette Ortiz said. (PNA)