Sesco unlikely to lower tariffs anytime soon


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 20 Sep 2003

BY SHARON LING

KUCHING: The Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation (Sesco) has clarified that it does not anticipate making any significant changes to its electricity tariffs over the next five to 10 years. 

Commenting on recent media reports that the tariffs would be lowered, Sesco chief executive Roger Wong said cheaper electricity could only be expected in the long term when the benefits of the Bakun hydroelectric dam were fully realised. 

He said electricity charges were unlikely to drop in the short and medium term because of the high initial capital investment in Bakun as well as Sesco’s commitments to existing generating plants and independent power producers (IPPs). 

“Even when Bakun comes on stream, we still have to pay for the existing generation capacity and IPPs because of our commitments,” he said. 

“When Batang Ai (hydroelectric dam) came on stream in 1984 it was by far our most expensive source of generation, but now it’s the cheapest at a cost of about three sen per unit,” he said. 

Wong also pointed out that Sesco had not raised its tariffs in the past 10 years owing to various cost-cutting measures and efficiency drives. Taking inflation into account, this meant Sesco customers were actually enjoying a 20% discount in real terms compared with 10 years ago, he said. 

He added that Sesco’s tariffs could not be directly compared with that of Tenaga Nasional Bhd because the two utilities operated on a vastly different scale of economy. 

“TNB’s maximum demand is 20 times bigger than Sesco’s and yet our transmission network is almost as big as TNB’s. 

“Because of our large geographical area, we need a very big network to supply electricity to a small population. In general, it costs us more to bring supply to each of our customers,” he said.  


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