ORMOC CITY, March 26 (PNA) — The Leyte V Electric Cooperative Inc. (Leyeco V) is still preparing the master list of consumers qualified to receive a refund on their electric bills, reason why the local government unit (LGU) is unable to release the funds.

This was the explanation given by Councilor Ruben Capahi during the general assembly meeting of the association of barangay (village) chairmen last March 23.

Republic Act (RA) 9163 or the Electric Power Reform Act provides royalty to host communities of energy resources like Ormoc City.

Under section 66 of the said law, 80 percent of the royalty will be utilized to subsidize the cost of power used by consumers. Since the law took effect in 2001, all household electric consumers in Ormoc have been enjoying subsidy.

However, the subsidy’s release was suspended in 2009 with the passage of RA 9513 or the Renewable Energy Law of 2008.

While the new law upheld the 80 percent utilization of the royalty to subsidize the electric consumption of consumers, section 31 limits the beneficiaries to end-users whose monthly consumption does not exceed 100kWh.

This means that unlike before when the distribution of subsidy was across the board, only households with consumption not over 100kWh (kilowatt per hour) per month will be qualified under the new guidelines.

To guide the consumers, Leyeco V institutional services department manager Maximo Torcende said a household with a refrigerator is automatically disqualified.

A total PHP43.10 (interest included) of subsidy is up for release covering the years 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014. But with fewer beneficiaries now, the subsidy is bigger with some getting up to PHP3,000 to PHP4,000, unlike the PHP600 to PHP700 received in 2011 when there were 32,020 beneficiaries.

As part of the cleansing process, the list will be posted per village for 30 days to give consumers who will be left out enough time to appeal their inclusion if they are qualified. Only then will the master list be finalized in preparation for the release of the subsidy.

“The mayor, vice mayor, councilors and even the LGU itself have no discretion in identifying the beneficiaries. We are just following the law),” Capahi said, in apparent anticipation to complaints from consumers who will be excluded.

He added that the exercise will cost the LGU PHP500,000 to PHP600,000 in personnel services, including overtime pay considering the releases will be done even on weekends.

Beneficiaries will be required to present their community tax certificate in claiming the subsidy.

Capahi, chairman of the LGU’s Electric Subsidy Council, also informed the availability of PHP7 million unclaimed subsidy from previous years.

He urged beneficiaries to claim their subsidy covering the years 2006-11 (except 2009) to allow the City Treasurer’s Office to close the account. (PNA)