‘Fikirlah’: It pays to be prudent

From young, whether at home or at school, we have all been told to switch off the light or fan when we leave a room

By SAKINI MOHD SAID / BERNAMA

ONLY about RM100 — this is the monthly electricity bill of a nine-member household in Kuala Lumpur that has four air conditioners installed in their house.

It is my colleague Adira’s household and I asked her how she manages to keep her bill so low.

Adira, who lives in a double-storey house with her husband, six children and mother-in-law, puts it down to her family’s proactive power utilisation approach.

However, they only deliberately started saving energy about four months ago and prior to that, their electricity bill would come to between RM200 and RM300 a month.

“We used to be careless and wasted electricity. Then, I realised something needs to be done to reduce the wastage and make some savings,” she told me.

Adira did not resort to using any ESD. She and her family merely changed their attitude towards electricity

Adira did not resort to using any energy-saving device (ESD). She and her family merely changed their attitude towards electricity and embarked on using the energy resource more efficiently.

She surfed Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s (TNB) website to dig out information and tips on saving power, and kept reminding her children to switch off the lights or unplug any electrical gadget that was not being used.

Her family was also advised to use their air conditioners economically by not setting themat too low temperatures. As for the washing machine, they were asked to make sure that it is working at full capacity each time they use it.

“After observing these measures, our power bill showed a sharp decrease, from RM280 to RM100!” said a jubilant Adira.

My colleague told me she not only “nagged” her children into practising power-saving measures, but also pasted signs on power points and electrical appliances to remind them to “switch off”.

“I would also conduct surprise checks to see if my children are doing what they have been told to do. In the beginning, they grumbled saying that I was too stingy, but they followed my ordersafter I promised to take them out for a meal if we managed to save electricity,” she said.

Adira’s energy-saving measures are nothing new. From young, whether at home or at school, we have all been told to switch off the light or fan when we leave a room.

Or turn off the computer, instead of putting it on sleep mode.

Yes, we know about these things, but it is frustrating to note that not many people actually practise these good habits.

A RM100 saving on the electricity bill may not seem much to other people, but to my colleague, who has a big family to look after, it is a substantial amount which she can use to purchase necessities.

Another thing that caught my attention was the fact that Adira did not use any ESD, which is widely available in the market. The ESD, as it is claimed, enables households to make savings of up to 30% in their electricity bills.

In fact not long ago, the Energy Commission said in a statement that studies conducted on ESDs found not much difference in the meter reading and that no accredited bodies have proven that such devices can save energy.

Adira also advises her family to use their air conditioners economically by not setting
them at too low temperatures

I remember reading a news report about one Shamsulhairi Mohd Yasin, 38, who resorted to using the wire bypass technique to lower his power bill. This technique, however, is illegal and he was eventually slapped with a RM9,000 fine by TNB.

According to the report, TNB enforcement officers inspected Shamsulhairi’s house after his electricity bills “plunged suddenly”.

He appealed to TNB to lower the fine, but to no avail. “It’s purely my fault. I wanted to save electricity, but used the wrong method,” he was quoted as saying.

After Shamsulhairi’s issue came to light, I spoke to a TNB officer about the matter and he informed me of the tendency of some electrical contractors to offer to do the wire bypass technique for their customers, which is against the law as it amounts to stealing electricity.

This illegal method involves tampering with the wire to bypass the electricity meter. When the meter is bypassed, it will not be able to measure the units of power consumption in the house.

So, don’t fall for it when your electrical contractor tells you that you can slash your electricity bill via certain “adjustments” to the meter. You can reduce your bill by practising energy-saving measures, like what Adira did. It is up to you whether you want to do it or not. — Bernama