SESB has no power to raise electricity tariffs in Sabah, says chairman

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) chairman Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau (pic) says that the company does not have the power to raise or approve electricity tariff rates in the state.

He said that after the Electricity Supply Bill 2024 was approved by the Sabah State Assembly on Wednesday (Jan 3), the authority to decide on matters concerning electricity tariff lies with the Sabah state Cabinet on the recommendation of the Sabah Energy Commission.

He said before the Bill was approved, matters on power tariffs in Sabah were decided by the federal government and enforced by the Energy Commission.

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“I see that many are still confused over this matter to the extent that various parties were venting their anger on SESB. Today’s state assembly sitting also shows that many elected representatives still do not understand this matter.

“SESB is a utility company involved in the business of supplying electricity to consumers… SESB merely implements what has been approved based on what has been regulated upon and enforced,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Earlier, the special Sabah State Assembly sitting approved three bills related to the state government taking over regulatory powers on energy and electricity supply from the federal government.

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The Energy Commission of Sabah (Amendment) Bill 2024, Sabah Renewable Energy Bill 2024 and Electricity Supply Bill 2024 were passed by a majority voice vote.

Madius said in this connection, SESB should not be blamed when the Energy Commission, in a statement on Dec 26 last year, said the electricity tariff adjustment in Sabah for the period Jan 1 to June 30 this year would be implemented under the Imbalance Cost Pass-Through (ICPT) mechanism.

“The ICPT tariff adjustment decision was beyond the jurisdiction of SESB,” he said.

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ICPT refers to a mechanism under the Incentive-Based Regulation (IBR), which allows fuel costs to be adjusted every six months based on fluctuations in global fuel prices.

Under the latest implementation of ICPT, domestic users with a monthly electricity consumption of 1,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and below will not be imposed any surcharge.

Domestic users with electricity consumption exceeding 1,500 kWh will be subjected to a surcharge of 7.21 sen/kWh, the same as the surcharge for non-domestic consumers. – Bernama