In the face of today’s unprecedented pandemic that has engulfed the world, the ensuing measures taken to combat further infection has resulted in an entirely different way of living and working.
In tandem with the government imposed movement control order, it stands to reason that there is growing concern over continuing work with as little disruption as possible.
One strategy many companies have undertaken to comply with the MCO is the implementation of working from home. However, this does not come without its own set of challenges.
For one, working from home presents its own set of distractions, particularly for those with very young kids who don't understand that although you are physically present, you're not available to play or pay attention to them while you’re getting work done.
Other forms of distraction include pets, as well as domestic chores such as laundry or meal preparation.
Meanwhile, those who do not live with family or have housemates face a challenge of the other extreme: isolation and loneliness.
The sudden change from working all day around colleagues in the office to working alone at home can be jarring, once the novelty wears off over skipping the usual rush hour traffic and being able to work in pajamas all day if you please.
Technical difficulties are also another challenge that can arise, particularly since there is no direct access to the IT team, unlike in the office. With issues needing to be solved remotely, it may take more time than usual, which may disrupt your work process.
Another concern that arises from having to work from home is the increased usage of utilities, particularly electricity.
Many of us take for granted the basic amenities we enjoy in the office, such as the equipment, furnishing, lighting and air-conditioning. We only miss it when we try to get our work done at the dining table, which suddenly doubles up as a workspace, sweating it out in the heat of the day since having the air-conditioner on the entire day is not sustainable practice – in the wake of the uncertainty of the times, many of us will be consciously trying to save as much as possible.
Since utilities constitute a major part of household expenses, it makes sense to ensure there is no wastage of utilities, such as water and electricity.
Now that we are at home all the time due to the MCO, it is not surprising that we are consuming more electricity than we normally do, especially in multiple person households.
It is the view of Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) that electricity consumption in households will increase as they use electricity more often or for longer than usual during the MCO.
To help ease the burden of the rakyat, especially those in the lower income bracket, a six month discount for domestic consumers for electricity consumption starting Apr 1 until Sept 30, 2020, was announced as part of the stimulus package unrolled by the government.
There is no need for household consumers to apply for the discount as it will be automatically reflected in the electricity bill. The discount, which is based on total monthly consumption, is calculated as follows:
> Up to 50% discount for domestic and/or residential customers who use up to 200kWh of electricity per month.
> 25% discount for customers who use 201kWh to 300kWh of electricity per month.
> 15% discount for customers who use 301kWh to 600kWh of electricity per month.
> 2% discount for customers who use more than 600kWh of electricity per month.
For the April bill, the discount will be prorated for electricity consumption from Apr 1 until the billing end date. Consumers will enjoy full discount based on monthly consumption in their bills for May until September. In the October bill, the discount will again be prorated from the billing start date until Sept 30.
During MCO, consumers can obtain a copy of their bill online through the myTNB portal or myTNB app, which can be downloaded for free on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
TNB advises consumers to use electricity wisely and with minimal wastage, so they can get the best out of the discounts.
To help consumers balance the need for electrical appliances without wasting electricity, TNB has posted tips on prudent and smart energy usage on its website at mytnb.com.my.
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