PKR: Establish Independent Body to Investigate High Electric Bill Charges

SHAH ALAM, 4 Dec: The government should set up an independent body to investigate the public’s allegations of rising electricity bill charges, said PKR communications director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

These increased charges followed the change made by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) to convert from analog meters to electronic meters.

Nik Nazmi who is also the assemblyman of Seri Setia said the establishment of an independent body is necessary because there is a sense of dissatisfaction and anger among the people which must be taken seriously by the government.

According to him, PKR received 22 complaints for the Kelana Jaya area alone, from the public who claimed an increase in electricity bill charges between 20 to 50 percent.

“This meter replacement program is in fact a substantial financial commitment by TNB and the additional financial burden to the consumers can reach billions of ringgit.

“Our research shows that there are currently 8.03 million TNB users in Malaysia.We estimate the average price of a new electronic meter to be RM250 per unit.Hence this replacement program could potentially reach up to RM 2 billion (8.03 million units x RM250),” he said in a statement here today.

Nik Nazmi said the explanation given by Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui that any increase in electricity consumption after the replacement of the meters is a result of a better and more accurate reading than electronic meters is not satisfactory regarding the potential size of the financial burden to be borne by all TNB consumers.

He added that the issue can not be taken lightly because it involves a large financial amount to be borne by the public as consumers.

He said for 2012’s financial year TNB’s revenue from all users is RM34.4 billion, so if the new electronic meters provide a conservative two percent increase in all electricity bills, the extra burden on consumers is RM688 million annually.

“As this new electronic meters have a lifespan of 10 years, consumers will end up paying more than RM6.88 billion to TNB for that period.

“Therefore PKR hopes the government will be more responsible and transparent in this matter and people are entitled to more information about the new electronic meter replacement program by TNB,” he said.

He explained that based on studies, TNB has five suppliers with one of them, Malaysian Intelligence Meters Sdn Bhd, being owned in part by the family of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi; meanwhile, the average price of phase one and three electronic meters are RM250 each.

“Is the tender supply made by open tender or direct negotiations? Full details and transparency should be provided by TNB,” he said.

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