[ UPDATE 2/06/2020 16:00 ]: According to TNB Chairman, the recent bill spikes was due to more Malaysians staying at home during the MCO. More details here.
According to the Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA) Minister Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, he will be meeting up with the top management of Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) today to hear their explanation on the recent discounts and electricity billing issues. This comes after consumers have complained about sudden spikes in billing during the movement control order period.
During the MCO, manual readings of meters were suspended since 18th of March and the electric utility company had resumed manual reading since 15th May. Several consumers have voiced out their dissatisfaction about their bills on social media.
Prorated billing method will not cause a sudden increase in bill
TNB insists that its prorated billing method for electricity tariff will not cause a sudden increase in electricity bills to its 9 million customers. TNB Chief Retail Officer Megat Jalaluddin Megat Hassan explained that the prorated method will ensure accurate billing for each estimated monthly bill and customers will not be overcharged.
They gave an example if a household had clocked 1,400kWh for a period of four months, the power utilisation will be divided by four months and it will then multiply the existing tariff block according to the monthly usage. As a result, each bill under the prorated system will come out to RM102.80 per month or RM411.20 in total for four months, instead of being billed RM681 without the prorate method. According to Shamsul Anuar, TNB did not calculate the electricity arbitrarily and they did so after getting approval from the Energy Commission.
To reduce the burden of consumers, TNB is also providing discounts to 7.5 million customers under the government’s economic stimulus package. Customers can enjoy tiered discounts up to 50% from April to September 2020.
Residential users with monthly consumption below 200kWh will receive a 50% discount while consumption between 201kWh to 300kWh will receive a 25% discount. Meanwhile, monthly consumption between 301kWh and 600kWh will receive 15% off. Usage above 601kWh is entitled to a 2% discount.
Electricity usage at home increased by 23%
The Energy and Natural Resource Minister has also highlighted that electricity consumption for residential users in Peninsular Malaysia had soared by 23% during the MCO. This isn’t surprising since most people are spending more time at home.
However, the overall electricity usage has decreased by 33% as business and industries were mostly closed. In Sabah, overall electricity usage had dropped by 30% while Sarawak’s consumption had dropped by 20%.
According to TNB, they are aware of the situation that’s faced by consumers and they are offering easy monthly payment options up to December 2020 without additional surcharges. For those that wish to pay the full amount, the utility company won’t impose late payment charges until September 2020. In addition, they will also delay electric supply disconnection activities until 31st July 2020.
Unsatisfied customers urged to make a report
For consumers that are not satisfied with the billing, they are urged to reach out to TNB or make a complaint with the Energy Commission (ST). If there is any mistake in billing, TNB will make the necessary adjustments and it will be reflected in the next reading.
From our own TNB billings, we don’t see any unusual spikes and this could be a billing discrepancy for some users. Did you receive a substantial increase in electric bills for the past few months? Let us know in the comments below.