Malaysians Demand Answers From TNB Over Spike In Electricity Bills

The Energy and Natural Resources Minister Dr Shamsul Anuar will be meeting with TNB's top management regarding this issue today, 1 June.

Cover image via Saw Siow Feng/Malay Mail & TNB Careline/Facebook

Some of Tenaga Nasional Berhad's (TNB) nine million customers have been left irate after seeing unusually high charges in their most recent electricity bills

Over the last few days, consumers took to social media to voice their dissatisfaction and shared screenshots from their personal myTNB accounts showing unusually high electricity bills compared to the months before.

Many of them said their electricity usage did not increase during the Movement Control Order (MCO), some even left their houses vacant, and yet saw an increase in billing.

In response, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said he will meet with TNB's top management today, 1 June, to obtain an explanation

"As the minister for electricity supply, I am aware of the current situation related to billing by TNB," Dr Shamsul Anuar told Bernama yesterday, 31 May.

New Straits Times reported that he also previously assured there were no mistakes in the calculation and billing adjustments made by TNB during the MCO.

"TNB can't calculate the bill arbitrarily," he said, adding that the calculation was made based on the guidelines set by the Energy Commission, and TNB had no right to increase the bill.

TNB insists that their estimated billing method for the calculation of electricity tariff during the MCO did not cause the sudden increase in electricity bills

Manual readings of meters were suspended during the MCO as it required TNB staff to enter houses and premises.

Thus, the national electricity provider issued electricity bills based on estimates from the months prior to the enforcement of MCO.

"The objective of issuing estimated bills (during MCO) was so that customers would not be surprised to receive their forthcoming bill (issued by the meter reader)," explained TNB chief retail officer Megat Jalaluddin Megat Hassan on 29 May, as quoted by Bernama.

"We showed this (estimated) bill in the portal and myTNB application so that customers can look (at the bill) and pay during the MCO."

The utility has since resumed manual reading of meters on 15 May.

Image via Malaysiakini

With the resumed meter readings, TNB will be implementing a prorated method to calculate customers' actual bills from the previous months

Megat Jalaluddin assured that customers will not be overcharged as the prorated method they are implementing will ensure accurate monthly billing, according to Malay Mail.

"If we don't use prorated (method) for comparison, if we just multiply using tariff band, the amount will be higher," he said.

For example, a 1,400kWh total bill will be divided into four months before being multiplied with the existing tariff tiers.

"Hence, the bill for a month [would come up to] RM102.80 (RM411.20 for four months) compared to the amount of not using this method of RM681," he explained.

The TNB chief retail officer added that users will receive estimated bills in March, April, and May, before receiving an actual bill in June.

According to Megat Jalaluddin, the electricity bills are currently high due to the long period of the MCO of over two months, as well as general high usage of electricity during this time

Therefore, to address the unusual issue, he said TNB is giving consumers the option of paying the outstanding bills in monthly instalments up to December 2020, with no additional surcharge.

"For those who wish to pay the full amount, we will not impose late payment charges until September 2020, nor will we cut electricity supply until July 2020."

In addition, TNB will be providing tiered discounts to its consumers based on their household's electricity consumption, in line with the government's economic stimulus package.

In the meantime, Dr Shamsul Anuar urged dissatisfied consumers to lodge complaints to TNB or the Energy Commission

If there is any mistake in billing, TNB assured it will make the necessary adjustments that will be reflected in the next reading.

Customers are urged to file an official report by visiting a Kedai Tenaga near them or contacting the TNB Careline at 1-300-88-5454 so that the company can take further action.

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