The business community has lauded the Sarawak government’s decision to lower power tariffs of up to 50% from June 1. The significant reduction will benefit some 86,600 commercial and industrial consumers of state utility body, Syarikat Sesco Bhd.
In announcing the power tariff cut on Wednesday, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said 46,000 commercial consumers, like shophouses, retail shops and commercial blocks, would enjoy a reduction of 15%-50% while a further 30,500 users between 8% and 11%. The remaining 9,000 consumers, which include shopping malls, building and construction sites, ports as well as oil and gas installations, will get an average of 4% cut.
For industrial consumers, he said about 980 of them would enjoy a 4% to 40% reduction while a further 125 consumers would pay an average of 2% less in their bills from next month.
Some 240,000 domestic consumers are already benefitting from up to 40% power tariff reduction from Jan 1.
Adenan said the downward revision of the tariffs was meant to assist the business community, especially the smaller players and entrepreneurs, in the face of rising operational costs.
He said the revision of power tariffs had been made possible as the government was projected to collect about RM100mil in water royalty from the Batang Ai, Bakun and Murum hydroelectricity dams, and its ability to sell the power to particularly energy-intensive industries.
Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) president Datuk Abang Karim Tun Openg described the rates in commercial and industrial tariff reduction as “very meaningful”.
“We are happy with the Chief Minister’s announcement. We believe the tariff reduction is a big help to commercial owners and industrialists. It will give a big boost to small and medium enterprises and will make them more competitive,” he told StarBiz yesterday.
Abang Karim said manufactuers were faced with a constant increase in production costs, like higher wages, so the move was a big help.
Sarawak Manufacturers Association honorary president Chai Foh Chin said the tariff reduction was “significant”, adding that the lower energy cost would help the manufacturing sector a great deal.
“It is a very positive move. We welcome it,” said the former long-serving association president and secretary.
Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS) group managing director Datuk Richard Curtis said the state government’s move to bring down the tariffs was much appreciated.
“As the cost of producing energy has come down (due to the commissioning of mega hydroelectric dams, like the 2,400MW Bakun and 944MW Murum), it is appropriate for Sesco to pass the cost savings to consumers,” he added.