Power rebate or surcharge in July?

Tenaga Nasional signboard seen along the LRT track.

KUALA LUMPUR: Consumers are expecting an announcement by the government on whether there will be a power rebate or surcharge for the next six months before the current term ends on June 30.

For the first half of this year, the government had kept the electricity tariff rebate at 1.52 sen/kWh in the peninsula and 1.20 sen/kWh in Sabah and Labuan.

Analysts said on Thursday it remains to be seen if power consumers will continue to enjoy rebates, or if a surcharge will be imposed.

They cited that coal price had increased while the US dollar was firmer vis-a-vis the ringgit.

In a previous report, Kenanga Investment Bank Research noted the once fast-rising coal fuel prices have stabilised. 

They were around US$80 per tonne, after surging above US$100 a tonne in the second half of 2016.

“As such, the higher cost could be reflected in first half of 2017, which could lead to lower tariff rebate in second half of 2017 in the next review window in June this year,” it said.

Australia’s Newcastle coal is currently trading at US$80.65 per tonne and off the recent high. Its price had more than doubled last year to almost US$110 per tonne in November.

Some, however, argue fuel prices have come down significantly, with crude oil trading below US$50 per barrel due to global supply glut.

At midday, US light crude oil rose 20 cents to US$44.94 and Brent added 17 cents to US$47.48.

Coal and gas constitute 50.8% and 45.2%, respectively, of the total power generation mix in Peninsular Malaysia while the rest is from hydro.

Tenaga reportedly imported 20.8 million tonnes of coal in 2013 for power generation, 19.3 million tonnes in 2014 and 22.2 million tonnes in 2015.
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