KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 – Criticisms that Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) is purely motivated by profits couldn’t be further from the truth.
Truth be told, the power company has given back to the people through the payment of record-high dividend payments to the government which are ploughed back in terms of development allocation to the rakyat.
This is besides the numerous community projects the company has undertaken to help the rakyat in numerous areas including the social and economic sectors as well as sports.
It is understandable that people are currently unhappy with the high electricity bills they received as domestic customers’ consumption increased by 20-50 per cent during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.
To reduce their financial burden, the government joined hands with TNB to announce the Bantuan Prihatin Elektrik additional aid this week.
This will benefit 7.66 million consumers in the domestic or residential category in Peninsular Malaysia including four million consumers who would be enjoying free electricity supply for three months.
This is introduced on top of the on-going electricity discount introduced since April and will be reflected in consumers’ bills for July.
As a public-listed blue chip on Bursa Malaysia and in the second spot among the top 10 companies, it is definitely not a poorly managed monopoly. Such criticisms are misplaced.
Neither have the power tariffs been uncaring to the plight of the rakyat affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as they claim that since the price of oil has dropped, TNB should cut tariffs to reflect this.
TNB has shared its profits with the government and the rakyat for the almost 71 years it has been in existence.
There is no doubt that based on its financial track record, TNB is a professionally-run utility company.
Its infrastructure and workforce of over 35,000 have helped propel the nation’s development by providing power to run industries, businesses, economies and lighting homes for 71 years.
Based on the tariff structure set by the authorities, TNB has been able to plough back profits as capital expenditure (CAPEX), dividends and returns to the government and community projects through the sheer hard work of its management.
There is no doubt that dividend payout by a highly-capitalised company like TNB is a clear indicator of its commendable cash flow and financial strength.
The company has also been pivotal in paying consistently high dividends from year to year, a clear reflection that TNB is a strong and reliable company benefitting investors, shareholders as well as the rakyat.
In the last financial year, TNB chalked up a record-high dividend payout of RM5.69 billion.
As for its electricity tariffs, it consists of two components – base tariff and Imbalance Cost Pass-Through (ICPT).
ICPT is a mechanism under the Incentive-Based Regulation (IBR) framework which allows TNB as the utility to reflect changes, either through an increase or a reduction, in fuel and other generation-related costs in the electricity tariff every six months in the form of rebate or surcharge.
Suruhanjaya Tenaga as Malaysia’s energy regulator determines the calculation and methodology of the ICPT, subject to Government approval on a six-monthly basis.
The benefits of ICPT to customers include a transparent and fair electricity price, sufficient, uninterrupted and reliable power supply as well as encouraging customers to improve energy efficiency.
The electricity generation fuel mix in Peninsular Malaysia in 2019 was 53.9 per cent coal, 42.3 per cent natural gas including liquefied natural gas (LNG), 3.2 per cent hydro and others, and 0.6 per cent solar.
Due to this fuel mix of power generation in Peninsular Malaysia, the oil price movement has no direct impact on electricity tariffs.
In continuing to provide power to the country, TNB is still among the top 10 companies on Bursa Malaysia in second place with a market capitalisation which as of May 6 stood at RM69.2 billion, a reflection of its financial accountability.
Its shareholders as of May 6 this year include majority shareholder Khazanah Nasional Bhd which holds a 25.8 per cent equity, Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) 18.1 per cent, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) 16.7 per cent, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP) 6.7 per cent, and other government agencies like Tabung Haji and Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera own 1.2 per cent.