Monday, June 6, 2011

Consumer action: Living green saves money

WHENEVER the government allows a small price increase of some service or product, there is a domino effect on the prices of other goods and services.

Take Milo for instance: today the price of a 2kg pack is RM33.90 compared with just under RM30 a week ago. Prior to that, it was sold for about RM26 and at RM22.90 during a sale.

This is outrageous, especially since Malaysia is a producer and exporter of cocoa.

We need to spend prudently and not be tempted by sales offers or cheap sales from hypermarkets and shops into buying something that eventually will land up inside the storeroom.

Now that the price of electricity has gone up, consumers should:

• change all non-energy saving type bulbs to energy saving types;

• ensure that all 3-pin mains power points are completely switched off and not left on standby mode when idle;

• boil drinking water with a full load and use the electric iron to iron a whole pile of clothes at one go;

• switch on the water heater for hot water for bathing only during a cold day or night; bathing with water at ambient room temperature on hot days will cut down on electricity usage;

• switch on only lights that you need and do not light up the whole house unless necessary;

• do not use two- or three-horsepower air conditioners for rooms that need only a one-horsepower unit. Use the electric fan to cool down the room on a cool day or night, instead. This will help save on electricity bills;

• watch TV in the living or TV room together; stop watching TV inside bedrooms individually; and,

• replace spotlights with higherwatt type energy saving lights with sensor control or timer to light up on demand.

Consumers have no option but to help ourselves. With the government contemplating removing more subsidies, we have to act wisely.

I feel there is no rationale for the price of RON 95 petrol price to be raised, although the current crude oil price has gone up more than RM361 (US$120) a barrel, simply because our country is a petroleum producing nation, and we sell highgrade crude to world markets.

Malaysia will stand to gain from the price hike of crude oil and some of these profits can be used to continue subsidising the price of RON 95 petrol.

But in the event that it does go up, one option that consumers can look at is buying smaller cars with small - er-capacity engines like most motorists are doing in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore, to save on fuel consumption.

If power is your preference, then, choose a car with higher horsepower and torque and see that it has a five-gear advantage. This will allow the motorist to save on fuel, yet get the speed they want.

Furthermore, the motorist will save on road tax payments if the car has a lower-capacity engine.

However, there is another way to save on fuel and it is to take the car out only when necessary and always take short cuts to places or rather know where you are going prior to taking off. Cut down on fun r ides.

Consumers must spend prudently and buy only things they need.

They should not put anything to wa s t e .

LAU BING Chairman, Consumers Association of

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