Provide electricity discounts to impacted businesses

by AZALEA AZUAR / pic by BERNAMA

THE government should provide a 10% discount on electricity to impacted businesses as evident in the Movement Control Order last year, the usage for businesses decreased but increased in homes recorded.

The electricity usage in industrial and commercial sectors fell between 25% and 50% when most sectors were forced to shut down during the period, while residential usage surged between 20% and 50% as employers have been ordered to work from home (WFH).

Plus Xnergy Holding Sdn Bhd group CEO Ko Chuan Zhen said many factories will be operating on a limited capacity which could affect their energy consumption as the nation is in full lockdown.

“It is commendable that the Strategic Programme to Empower the People and the Economy, provides a 10% electricity discount for impacted sectors — namely hotel operators, travel agencies, shopping malls and premises, convention centres, theme parks and local airlines,” he said adding that it should be applicable until September this year.

Since one of the major challenges in the commercial and industrial sector is managing overheads and reducing bottom lines, Ko urged that their eligibility for electricity discount should also be considered.

“Undeniably, the slowdown has impacted us, yet, we see confidence and continued demand from commercial and industrial clients.

“They include major plastics manufacturer Mah Sing Plastics Industries Sdn Bhd, with a return on investments from their solar investment in just four years. Meanwhile, Ajiya Bhd, a building solutions manufacturer, gained a monthly savings of RM50,000,” said Ko.

He is still confident of the prospects in the renewable energy (RE) industry but with the tightened Covid-19 restrictions and the reduced capacity in workplaces, conversion to actual bottom lines would take a longer time.

“It is a difficult position for the government as they try to strike a balance between protecting lives and the nation’s economy. For us at Plus Xnergy, our people’s wellbeing is of topmost priority. WFH is mandatory, while we have to postpone client meetings, project rollouts and also plan out warehousing as we weather out the lockdown,” Ko added.

Kuala Lumpur (KL) Mayor Datuk Seri Mahadi Che Ngah (picture) has also imposed a 30% compulsory reliance on RE for both commercial and residential developments in the city.

This is in line with Malaysia’s goal to be at least 31% powered by RE by 2025.

According to the Energy Commission’s latest report, Malaysia’s RE capacity is expected to see a near twofold increase in share from 17% in 2021 to 31% by 2032 as well as a reduction in gas and coal combined from 82% down to 69%.

“Still, more can be done to raise the awareness of RE as a main energy source, such as with financial institutions offering attractive incentives or repayment schemes so that many more commercial, industrial as well as developers will see the benefits of RE,” said Ko.

He also said that the digitalisation of energy is important as additional savings in electricity can be realised with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence of things.