Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Electricity rate hike in Sabah & Labuan

KOTA KINABALU: Electricity rates in Sabah and Labuan will go up by 15% from July 15 but the increase will only affect consumers whose average monthly bills exceed RM77.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kuisaid the new rates would not affect about 275,000 households.

The tariff will be revised to 29.25 sen per kiloWatt hour (kWh), which is an increase of 3.75 sen per kWh from the present 25.5 sen kWh.

“This restructuring is necessary to reflect the actual cost of power supply and also to promote the efficient use of electricity in line with the current energy policy,” he said, in noting that electricity tariffs in Sabah had not been reviewed for 25 years.

The tariffs were structured in a way to avoid burdening the lower income group, he told a press conference on Saturday.

Under the new rates, some of the 140,557 households in the state and Labuan whose electricity consumption amounted to RM30 monthly could even experience slightly lower bills.

Consumers whose electricity bills are between RM77.48 and RM119.20 will see the amount going up to between RM85.83 and RM135.

Heavy users whose bills average about RM260 will possibly have to pay at least RM307 under the new revision.

Chin said the new tariffs would also not burden small traders who were expected to face a mere RM2 addition to their current bill.

Operators of canteens, coffee shops, barber shops would pay an extra of RM2 to RM14.

He said the increase was unavoidable as fuel subsidies provided by the Federal Government was insufficient for Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd to bear the actual cost of supply which amounted to 44.62sen per kWh.

“Despite a fuel subsidy of 12.9 sen per kWh, SESB still suffers a loss of 6.2 sen for every unit of electricity sold,” he said, adding that the utility company had so far received about RM2.6bil in subsidies.

The new tariffs, he said, would also introduce peak/off-peak rates to encourage businesses to operate between 10pm and 8am.

Chin said meter rentals were waived under the new scheme while approved non-profit welfare groups, places of worship and government education institutions would be given a 10% discount of their power bills.

In addition, tariffs for public areas maintained by local authorities such as roads would be reduced by 47% from 30 sen per kWh to 16 sen kWh.

SESB managing director Datuk Baharin Din said the new tariff would increase the company's revenue by about RM150mil.

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