Rising fuel prices caused by the Russia-Ukraine war might see Malaysian consumers imposed with a surcharge on their electricity bills in July. According to a report by The Vibes, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) is having trouble keeping the current electricity rates due to increasing coal prices, which is the source of almost half of the country’s output.
An unnamed source told the news portal that the federal government is apparently mulling over the issue of whether TNB would be allowed to pass on the increased cost on to consumers. Every six months, the Energy Commission (EC) reviews the Imbalance Cost Pass-Through (ICPT) formula which determines if a price hike is needed, with the next ICPT review set to commence next month.
Earlier this year, the EC announced that it would maintain the current tariff rates at a two sen per kilowatt-hour (kWh) rebate for domestic users and a 3.7 sen per kWh surcharge for non-domestic users until 31 December 2024. At the time, coal prices were at US$200 (RM838) per tonne while the current price has hit US$386 (~RM1,697) per tonne as of writing.
Apparently, a cabinet paper on the surcharge issue was reportedly made available at Wednesday’s ministerial meeting. The source did not indicate just how much the rates will increase as presumably, nothing has been finalised until the EC conducts the ICPT review.
The one good news from the report is that consumers with bills of less than RM77 per month or with monthly consumption of less than 300 kWh might be exempted from the surcharge. This amounts to 70% of TNB’s 7.9 million domestic consumers or about five million households, meaning the increased rates are expected to affect about 30% of domestic households.
Soaring fuel prices have also affected other areas of the country, with airlines imposing a fuel surcharge for flight tickets to offset the cost. The government is even considering scrapping blanket fuel subsidies as it is getting too expensive, possibly opting for a targeted subsidy instead.