Friday, October 17, 2008




There may be a possible review of the electrity tariff in Sabah.
Although Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd Managing Director, Baharin Din, declined to confirm, he however said there is a need to “look at the cost of supply of energy”.
He said the electricity rate was last reviewed in 1986.
“Twenty-two years ago, a cup of coffee was probably about 50 sen. Today, the price has probably doubled. But SESB is still charging the old rate … so we have to be fair to see the cost of product to reflect the cost of production,” he said.
“If you look at any states, the economy will expand, we need to spend on the utility which means putting up new poles, new cables, new substations, and in line with SESB’s motto of ‘Pengerak Ekonomi Negeri” we have to act accordingly.
“SESB has to spend. We have to prepare the infrastructure and support the economy, and preparing requires money, and money does not fall from the sky. That is how we generate fund, through our services,” he told reporters during the SESB Raya Open House here yesterday.
Also present were Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) Chairman Tan Sri Leo Moggie, and State Cabinet Ministers.
Baharin stressed that if SESB is deprived the fund, then in the end, the electricity supply will suffer.
He was however confident that Sabah’s electricity generation will be as good as that in Peninsular Malaysia.
“SESB has lots of capable people. I believe we will be able to bring our electricity supply to greater heights; we are almost at the finishing line but please give us a chance to prove ourselves,” he said.
“We have seen great improvements over the last five years. There are less blackouts in the State Capital compared to before, but our Sandakan counterparts are not as lucky as us… We must not neglect them, we must not forget them.
“Seeing improvement in the last few years is however not good enough; we want our electricity supply to be on par with those in West Malaysia .. Mark my words, one day Sabah will be able to achieve it, “he said.
Baharin stressed that measures have to be taken.
“We cannot continue to face losses. Our financial year ended August 31, 2008 showed losses of some RM80 million. This is due to a mismatch in the selling price and production cost; it will not only affect our profit but would also hamper development and economy in the State,” he said.
“Do let us work together and do not stop the momentum that is taking place now. Give us a chance to prove that we can do it. Billions of ringgit have been spent in the last 10 years to improve electricity supply in Sabah, so why should we stop now, especially when we are almost at the finishing line,” he said, adding it was important to correct the wrong.
Baharin said that apart from the proposed coal-fired plant, the Upper Padas Hydro Power project is ongoing and when completed, it is expected to generate 150 megawatts of electricity for several areas.
On another development, he disclosed that at least 63,000 account holders statewide will benefit from the Government’s RM20 incentive.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced in the Budget 2009 that those whose electricity bill amount to RM20 or less will be exempted from paying.
“That would involve millions of ringgit … so we will discuss with the Government for help,: he said.