Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blame BN, not TNB, for power tariff hike

Blame BN, not TNB, for power tariff hike

Anisah Shukry | August 22, 2013
An increase in the electricity tariff would galvanise the angry public, says MP.
UPDATED
PETALING JAYA: Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s proposal to increase power tariff is the fault of the BN-lead government for refusing to look into Malaysia’s Independent Power Producers’ (IPP) sector, PKR said today.
Its strategy director, Rafizi Ramli, said that IPPs were charging TNB exorbitantly for supplying it electricity, and this was why TNB was compelled to raise the tariff.
“The rakyat has not seen the government take any serious action against the IPPs, which is the root cause behind the hike.
“So I want to congratulate the 47% Malaysians who voted in Barisan Nasional, because rising prices has become a recurring theme with them,” the Pandan MP said during a press conference at the party headquarters here today.
He was commenting on TNB president Azman Mohd’s announcement that the utility company is looking at increasing the power tariff for those who consume more than 200kWh.
Warning to the government
Rafizi said the government could amend the terms in TNB’s deal with the IPPs to ensure IPPs charged TNB much lower for the electricity, hence rendering the hike unnecessary.
“The cost per kWh that TNB has to pay the IPPs now is higher than if they had generated electricity themselves.
“And they are a corporate entity; they have to service loans, they must be careful about their profitability, so of course the easiest way to deal with the raising operating costs is to call for a tariff hike.”
He said PKR had made this suggestion back in 2008, but the government had ignored it, preferring instead to stick to the deal, which expires in 2015.
Rafizi also pointed out that the ultimate decision to raise the power tariff lay with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, and not TNB itself.
He warned BN that should they fail to address the IPP issue, the ensuing hike in electricity tariff may galvanise the public to revolt against the government of the day.
“We understand there is public anger building up over this issue, just like how the public is furious at the high cost of cars,” said Rafizi.
“So if there is any move by the government to raise the tariff, my warning to the BN, to the Cabinet and to the Prime Minister is that it will be like throwing a match into a pool of fuel: it will definitely burn.”

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