RM942mil surprise for consumers

PUTRAJAYA: Consumers who complained about their high electricity bills during the movement control order (MCO) period will see their financial burden being eased with the announcement of an additional RM942mil discounts under Bantuan Prihatin Elektrik Tambahan.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (pic) says that some 7.66 million domestic users in Peninsular Malaysia will benefit from the aid.

“The Prime Minister has approved the additional aid to all domestic users in the peninsula to lessen their burden following an increase in their electricity bills during the MCO period.

“The additional discounts and rebates will be reflected in consumers’ July bill and the existing discounts will go on until September,” he said during a special press conference at the Energy Commission building here yesterday.

Since May, social media platforms have been rife with consumers’ complaints about the unexpected increase in their electricity bills from Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), even after factoring in the fact that they stayed at home and used more power than normal during the MCO period.

Some said their bills jumped several hundred per cent.

Shamsul Anuar said: “The RM942mil aid is in addition to the existing electricity bill discounts under Bantuan Prihatin Electrik that was implemented in April.”

Under this additional assistance, four million consumers (52.2%) with a monthly usage of 300 kilowatt-hours (kWh) or RM77 and below will enjoy free electricity for April, May and June. Those who use 301kWh and above will get rebates of RM231 or RM77 per month for April, May and June.

“Those who have paid their bills for April, May and June will have the amount credited back to their accounts.

“Consumers with monthly usage of 301kWh and above will see the rebate of RM231 in their July bill,” he said, adding that the average monthly reading would be considered to see what discounts and rebates consumers were entitled to.

The amount is calculated by dividing the total usage to the number of affected months.

According to a survey by the Energy Commission, Shamsul Anuar said a majority of those affected during the MCO period were users within the 301kWh and 600kWh block tariff, which is charged at 51.6 sen per kWh.

“They fell out of this block tariff following higher electricity usage during the period and entered the next block tariff at 54.6 sen per kWh.

“This caused an increase in their bills and subsequently led them to enjoy less discounts, that is from 15% to only 2%.

“To assist users in the 601-900kWh block tariff, the government will give additional discounts of 8% on top of the existing 2%, making it 10% for their bills from April to September.

“This will benefit 916,000 users who represent 12% of the entire domestic users,” he said.

Shamsul Anuar assured consumers who had problems paying their bills that TNB would not cut off power supply until Sept 30.

“Users need not worry about their supply being cut off if they face difficulties in meeting their financial commitments,” he said.

“With the additional discounts and rebates, the government’s total assistance in electricity bills has increased to RM2.2bil between April 1 and Sept 30,” he said, adding that the initiative is funded by Kumpulan Wang Industri Elektrik, the Finance Ministry and TNB.

Also present at the event were TNB chairman Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, TNB chief executive officer Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan and Energy Commission chief executive officer Abdul Razid Dawood.

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