Consumers happy as TNB clears air on bill confusion

The ‘spike’ in electricity bills is due to TNB’s prorated billing mechanism to ensure accurate billing for each estimated monthly bill


TWENTY-SEVEN of Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s (TNB) Kedai Tenaga in green zones reopened in stages from May 12.

Kedai Tenaga Putrajaya resumed operations on May 18, among the earliest from the total of 119 Kedai Tenaga in Malaysia.

Also covering Cyberjaya, between June 1 and 18, Kedai Tenaga Putrajaya received 1,409 customers, which is an average of 108 customers daily.

From that total, 377 or 27% of customers enquired about the hike in their electricity bills for June.

To ensure that all consumers’ concerns are answered promptly, counter officers are equipped with a full understanding of the situation.

A consumer, who only wanted to be known as Siti, said she studied her June bill calculation as soon as it reached her house early this month.

“I think I understood it well, but I needed an affirmative answer from TNB and I got it today.

“My doubts are cleared now that I have been given a very satisfactory explanation,” she said, after being attended for over 15 minutes at Kedai Tenaga Putrajaya.

At first, Siti said she was shocked as her bill for June doubled from what she had consumed in the previous month.

She was charged about 30% higher during the Movement Control Order (MCO) compared to pre-MCO.

“I admit to having higher power consumption during the MCO, with air conditioners at full blast during the day,” she added.

She acknowledged that direct clarification from TNB was paramount as opposed to getting information through social media which could create more confusion.

“Being shocked at an extraordinary amount is a normal reaction, but explanations from unauthorised sources will not solve the problem.

“That is why it is pertinent for me to come here for a better understanding,” Siti said.

The “spike” in electricity bills was due to TNB’s prorated billing mechanism.

Customers can choose to pay the electricity bills in instalments until Dec 31, or in full

TNB chief retail officer Ir Megat Jalaluddin Megat Hassan said it was to ensure accurate billing for each estimated monthly bill.

For example, if a household clocks 1,400kWh for four months, the power utilisation will be divided by four and it will then multiply the existing tariff block according to the monthly usage.

As a result, each bill under the prorated system will come out at RM102.80 per month or a total of RM411.20 for four months, instead of RM681 without the prorate method.

There are also discounts to residential consumers under the government’s economic stimulus package, where they can enjoy tiered discounts up to 50% from April to September.

Users with monthly consumptions below 200kWh will receive a 50% discount, while usage from 201kWh to 300kWh will get a 25% discount.

Monthly consumption between 301kWh and 600kWh will receive 15% off, and 2% discount for usage above 601kWh.

Another Kedai Tenaga Putrajaya visitor, who only wanted to be known as Syafiq, said he had enjoyed the 50% rebate as he consumed below 200kWh per month attributed to the prorated bill mechanism.

Residing in a government quarters in Putrajaya, he said his bills soared slightly from about RM34 a month to RM45 from March to June.

“All my questions were prudently answered and I am satisfied with the explanations given,” he said, after spending less than 10 minutes at the counter.

Although the increase was relatively small, he said he was entitled to an explanation from the utility provider.

Close to 90% of domestic users in Peninsular Malaysia are expected to receive the rebates automatically from April 1 to Sept 30, where the Bottom 40 group will benefit from the higher 50% rebate.

The rebates — jointly subsidised by the government, TNB and funds from Kumpulan Wang Industri Elektrik — will be stated in the bills from May onwards.

Meanwhile, consumer Shahrul Asri said he was not happy with the surge in his electricity bill.

Even with low air conditioner usage during MCO, his bill soared from an average of RM250 to over RM400 for June.

“My power consumption during MCO was not very much different compared to pre-MCO. Appliances like the air conditioner were not used during the day, but the bill is still quite high.

“I have also paid the bill every month from March to May of about RM250 respectively, but my bill for June says I need to pay over RM400. It is very confusing,” Shahrul said.

Shahrul, however, accepted TNB officers’ calculation and explanation.

“I do not deny that the explanation and full cooperation given by TNB officers were fair,” he added.

To ease the financial burden of the people, TNB has introduced an easy payment plan, through which bills can be paid in instalments until Dec 31, unless one chooses to settle the payment in full.

“This plan lets me pay the extended amount in stages, which would ease my burden,” Shahrul added.

All Kedai Tenaga outlets in Malaysia reopened on June 1, operating from Mondays to Fridays, from 9am to 4pm. Its payment kiosks are operational daily from 8am to 10pm.

Last week, the government announced an additional aid, Bantuan Prihatin Elektrik (BPE), to offset the high electricity bill burdening consumers amounting to RM942 million, which will benefit some 7.66 million residential account holders.

Through the scheme, domestic consumers with monthly electricity consumption of 300kWh and below will enjoy free electricity from April to June.

Users with monthly electricity consumption exceeding 300kWh from April to June will get a RM77 discount per month, while consumers with monthly electricity consumption of between 601 to 900 kWh will enjoy a 10% discount from April to September, which is an additional 8% discount from the previously announced 2%.

BPE is an additional one-time assistance to ease consumers’ burden in paying higher electricity bills from April to June.

It is an additional assistance by the government and TNB, on top of the existing discounts given to domestic consumers from April to September as part of the Prihatin Rakyat economic stimulus package.

In a press conference this month, TNB said the consumption of electricity among domestic consumers increased by 20% to 50% during MCO, while commercial sector consumption dropped between 30% and 50%.