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Dr M: Govt to consider reducing electricity tariffs

New Straits Times logo New Straits Times 25/3/2019 OOI TEE CHING
a man in a suit and tie: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government is considering to reduce electricity tariffs, in view of falling coal and gas prices in the international market. NSTP photo by SAIFULLIZAN TAMADI © Provided by Media Prima Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government is considering to reduce electricity tariffs, in view of falling coal and gas prices in the international market. NSTP photo by SAIFULLIZAN TAMADI

SERDANG: The government is considering reducing electricity tariffs in view of falling coal and gas prices in the international market.

Of late, spot coal cargo prices for exports from Australia's Newcastle terminal have fallen by a quarter since the middle of 2018, to below US$90 per tonne for the first time since 2017.

Asian liquid natural gas (LNG) spot prices for May deliveries reportedly dropped 80 cents to US$4.65 per mmBtu this week. This marks their lowest level since May 2016.

“We're looking into it. We want to help reduce rising cost of living,” said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, when asked if the government will reduce electricity tariffs.

“But we (the Cabinet) have not decided yet,” he added, with a word of caution.

Last December, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) announced that businesses would have to pay additional surcharge of 2.55 sen per kiloWatt hour (kWh) from March until June this year due to higher fuel and generation costs.

The government, at that time, had approved the surcharge in December 2018 as it acknowledged TNB was implementing the Imbalance Cost Pass-Through (ICPT) mechanism for another six months, from January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019.

TNB primarily uses coal and gas to generate electricity, meeting more than half of the country's power needs. Malaysia's remaining electricity is produced by independent power producers from the private sector.

Coal, mainly purchased from Indonesia, Australia, South Africa and Russia, makes up 53 per cent of TNB's feedstock for power generation. Gas account for 42 per cent of the raw-material mix while the rest are of renewable sources such as hydroelectric, biomass, biogas and solar.

Dr Mahathir was officiating at MyCuepacs Care dialogue session with the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs), Medicare Assistance Sdn Bhd and Pos Malaysia Bhd.

Cuepacs has appointed Pos Malaysia to distribute the application form to participate in the CuepacsCare takaful and CuepacsPA program to civil servants through the 681 Pos Malaysia branches nationwide.

Also present at the dialogue session were Cuepacs president Datuk Azih Muda and chief secretary to the government Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar.

CuepacsPA was introduced since 2006 and is dedicated to alleviating the financial burden of the heirs while Cuepacs Care, introduced in 1999, facilitates civil servants to seek specialist treatment at private hospitals at affordable rates.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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