Getting used to new normal in electricity billing


  • Letters
  • Tuesday, 30 Jun 2020

MANY of us would have been dismayed by our bill from Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) for May, and would have probably felt a sense of deja vu with our bill for June. Are we being overcharged for our electric consumption?

I averaged a monthly consumption of 520kWh before the MCO (movement control order) was implemented, amounting to RM191.50 for my February bill. Since we were confined to our homes during the MCO period, it was natural that we would consume more electricity to power our air-conditioning units, lights, computer and mobile phones.

The increase in my usage of electricity did shock me initially. That’s because for the May bill, when we were billed for three months (the first actual meter reading post-MCO period), the amount hit RM550.70, and that was after deducting two auto-debit payments of RM191.50 and RM169.30 respectively for March and April.

In other words, my bill was RM895.78 for three months, and this was after factoring in the discounts offered by the government under the economic stimulus packages. So it was like an average of RM900 for three months, or RM300 per month, which is quite a jump from my usual RM200.

There is a misconception that the billing of three months put consumers at a disadvantage in terms of counting according to the tariff block. Actually, if we compare our February and May bills or May and June bills, we will see that the monthly blocks are multiplied by three in the May bill.

So, I owed TNB RM550.70 for May, and I thought that was the end of it. But when I received my June bill, it was RM681.03! “Oh no, here we go again, ” I thought. But hang on a minute.

Comparing my May with my June bill, and keeping an eye on the top right corner of the bill (highlighted in yellow) that says “Pelan Bayaran Mudah (easy payment scheme)”, I noticed that a sum of RM170.72 was paid for my May bill as part payment instead of the full amount.

This means the easy payment scheme is applicable for those who use the auto-debit facility, causing the arrears of RM379.98 to be added to my June bill. In fact, my June consumption was the “new normal” of RM301.05 in this MCO/RMCO period.

I’m wondering if our new normal will prevail, meaning that extra consumption of electricity is inevitable. Plus, if this easy payment scheme is mandatory, the arrears will continue to roll over to the following months. But when will it stop? In the meantime, we should try actively to reduce our electricity consumption. Practice energy efficiency (EE) as best as we can and may our future TNB bills be more acceptable.

BOO SOON YEW

Penang

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