Increase monthly billed amount to RM300 before imposing the 8% SST on power, Sabah Umno urges

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) should increase customers' billed usage to RM300 before imposing the 8% sales and service tax (SST), says Sabah Umno.

Sabah Umno elections director Jeffrey Nor Mohamed said the SST, which is set to be imposed starting March 1, should take into consideration many factors, including the stability of power supply to users.

“For now, the supply of electricity has not achieved a satisfactory level. Many users in Sabah are still categorised under B40 and use one main meter to cater to the needs of several families in a house,” he said in a statement on Thursday (Feb 29).

He said this is among some reasons why the usage of electricity increases although many of them are B40 families.

Jeffrey said if SESB insists on imposing the 8% SST on customers with a monthly billing of RM203 and above, the risk is that many would not be able to pay their bills on time.

When this happens, he said SESB would have to fork out its own funds to pay for the unpaid bills and SST.

In addition, he said Malaysians who still cannot afford to apply for an electricity meter should be allowed to use the pre-paid electricity system.

“The current pre-paid system is only for selected squatter areas but the Energy Commission of Sabah has to conduct another study on this,” he said.

This way, issues of power supply, bill payments and the increase in tax can be tackled while the needy would still be able to enjoy basic needs, Jeffrey added.

Separately, SESB issued a statement, saying that it is ready to face low power reserve margin problems in the state.

Its chief executive officer Mohd Yaakob Jaafar said the 12% reserve margin is putting the power stability and supply at risk but measures have to be taken to maximise the reserve margin up to 80MW.

“We will also conduct demand side management during peak hours, whereby Large Power Consumers will assist by using their own generators, allowing for the state power grid system to provide additional 30MW of power to users,” he said.

SESB is confident that this measure could help reduce the pressure on the grid system and prevent power rationing.

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