PARTI Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) urged the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry (KeTSA) to instruct Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) to convert power tariff for service apartments, from commercial tariff to domestic tariff immediately following the economic downturn.
“TNB should also recalculate power tariffs for those living in service apartment from March last year to ease their burden,” its central committee member Sharan Raj told FocusM.
Elaborating, the PSM leader said that many were unaware that those living in service apartments are being charged with commercial tariff, as the property were built on commercial lots.
To build residential homes, he added, developers needed to undergo a thorough regulatory process to ensure the project was feasible to all parties.
“To sidestep the regulations, some developers started building apartments on commercial lands, which has lesser regulatory hurdle to deal with.
“Once the service apartments are built, as the homes are on commercial lands, TNB connects the homes with low voltage commercial tariff, where users get charged higher than domestic consumers,” Sharan stated.
He noted that while domestic power users get charged about 21 sen per kilowatt hour (kWh), commercial users get charged about 43 sen per kWh, which is nearly double the rate.
“For easier understanding, you will be paying higher power tariff than those living in high-end area like Bukit Damansara despite using the same amount of electricity, just because you live in a service apartment,” Sharan said.
He said many who purchase service apartments were unaware of this issue, with the problem being compounded by property speculators purchasing the units for rental purposes.
Forgive outstanding bills for zero-income households
Sharan added as most of these speculators were using the units to earn income from rentals, they have little incentive to address the problem with TNB.
“Tenants are the ones who will be paying the utility bills, not owners. So, the latter has little motivation to do the necessary changes for the former,” he opined.
The PSM leader mentioned that TNB does allow service apartment users to convert commercial tariff to domestic tariff. However, the utility giant reserves the authority to approve the application or not.
On related matter, Sharan urged TNB to use its multi-billion-ringgit profits to relinquish outstanding electricity tariff for zero-income households to alleviate the latter’s financial burden.
He added that the outstanding electricity bill for domestic households was growing steadily from RM1.39 bil in September last year to RM1.62 bil in March this.
“Besides that, the overall outstanding TNB bill for more than five months is rising exponentially.
“Between January last year and March this, TNB had made a net profit worth RM4.55 bil, putting it in a solid financial position to relinquish electricity bill for zero-income households.
“TNB’s wealth was accumulated from the blood and sweat of the people. Thus, the profit needs to be diverted to help these households ease to their burden,” he remarked. – June 20, 2021.
Photo credit: The Rakyat Post