Targeted electricity subsidy - Positive move to encourage public to be prudent

24 Jun 2023 02:55pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - The government's approach to implement electricity subsidy in a targeted manner from next month has been lauded and many have described it as a positive move in educating and creating awareness among the public on the efficient and prudent use of electricity.

Civil servant Mohd Zuriyadi Sarpin, 41, said although this would not be permanent, the targeted subsidy policy shows that the government is doing its best to help reduce the burden on the people by not increasing the rate in the monthly electricity billing.

"This announcement will certainly bring relief to the public as we all know that our monthly electricity bill can be very costly. It is only appropriate not to have an increase in electricity tariffs because the profit from the monthly bill collection is already sufficient.

"(However), an increase for those whose bills have exceeded a certain electricity consumption is justified. It would be good if the government can offer or introduce solar panel installation services at cheap rates to those with high electricity usage,” he told Bernama when contacted today.

Yesterday, Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad announced that domestic consumers in Peninsular Malaysia with a monthly electricity consumption of 1,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and below, will not experience an increase in tariffs following the electricity tariff adjustment from July 1 to Dec 31, 2023, involving 99 per cent of the domestic users.

However, he said domestic consumers with a high electricity usage exceeding 1,500 kWj or equivalent to a minimum electricity bill of RM708 a month would be charged with a surcharge of a rate of 10 sen/kWj, which is estimated to be one per cent of domestic users.

Meanwhile, retiree Datuk Nur Iskandar A Samad said the government's decision to impose the surcharge at a rate of 10 sen/kWh for monthly bills of RM708 was in fact an eye-opener that would encourage the public to use electricity wisely.

Nur Iskandar, 65, said as his monthly electricity bill is about RM800 on the average, he needs to reduce his energy expenditure or he will be one of the estimated 83,000 consumers or one per cent of domestic users who would experience a hike of RM187 or 25 per cent in their monthly electricity bills.

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"I have 19 air conditioners in my house and despite having installed solar panels last year, which reduced my electricity bill from an average of RM1,500 to RM800, I would now have to spend about RM100 more just for electricity,” he said adding that he would now have to get his household members to reduce or limit their air conditioner usage.

An online game streamer who only wanted to be known as Sara, 29, said she was relieved not to be affected by the electricity tariff hike because in her field, she is required to be at home for long periods and streaming involves high energy consumption.

She said the move to implement the targeted electricity subsidy shows the government's concern for the people by easing their burden, including her, as she has to bear a monthly electricity bill of between RM200 and RM250.

However, she expressed concern over the impact of the electricity tariff hike on her income which is generated entirely through streaming online.

"I really hope there will be no raise in electricity tariff. If it is increased, not only will the way I generate income online be disrupted, but the daily life of others will be in disarray too as they will have to use less electricity to keep their electricity bill down.

"Generally, our dependence on electricity is very high and I hope that the government will always consider the needs of the people from the various sectors," she said.

Meanwhile, businessman Tan Wen Meng, 54, who shared the same views as Sara, lauded the government's efforts to implement electricity subsidy in a targeted manner amid the current uncertain economic situation.

He said his monthly electricity bill averaged close to RM500 as his job requires him to constantly use electronic equipment to communicate with customers, in addition to his household electricity usage.

"It is a very good move by the government to look after the public's financial welfare by continuing to subsidise a utility the public can’t live without in this day and age,” he said. - BERNAMA

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