Electricity Bill 2023 gets unanimous approval as Sarawak moves to embrace renewable energy generation

Julaihi tabling the Sarawak Distribution of Gas (Amendment) Bill 2023 in DUN Sitting on Nov 21, 2023.

KUCHING, Nov 21: The Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) has unanimously approved the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2023, aimed at establishing a robust and well-regulated electricity industry, facilitating exports, and encouraging public and investor participation in power generation.

The Bill was tabled earlier by the Minister of Utility and Telecommunication Datuk Julaihi Narawi.

Addressing an issue raised by Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian with regards to the new Section 27(3) of the Bill, Julaihi emphasised that the right to electricity is not absolute but must align with the law.

“It means paying for the electricity he uses according to the law and not for illegal purposes. There is no human right not to pay for electricity consumed or to steal electricity by meter tampering.

“Therefore, an electricity supplier cannot be compelled to supply to any person who has previously committed any offence including theft or use of electricity for for illegal purposes under the Principal Ordinance,” he said during his winding-up speech.

Highlighting the need to prevent electricity abuse and theft through adequate and effective and deterence measures, Julaihi said this amendment sets out the pre-conditions for supply and the right of licencee to refuse supply when it has been previously disconnected for non-payment for bill arrears and for having use electricity supply for unlawful and illegal purposes.

On the issue raised with regards to the 50 kilowatts (kW) threshold, he explained that installations not exceeding 50kW will cater for average typical household thereby allowing domestic consumer to participate in renewable generation, and also small commercial and industrial consumers, without the need to apply for electricity license.

“However, for larger renewable power producers exceeding 50kW where such installation may have impact on the grid system, there is a need to impose this limit to ensure the safe dispatch of solar or hydropower to the grid.

“They are regulated through the license issued by the Sarawak Cabinet that imposed conditions to comply with technical requirements. The dispatch of electricity on to the grid must not affect system stability and compromise the integrity of the grid system owned and operated by Sarawak Energy,” he added.

Julaihi also stated that there is no necessity to create or establish an Energy Commission under the Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication as the current electricity regulatory role is undertaken by the Electricity Supply Department in the Ministry headed by director of Electricity Supply appointed under the Electricity Ordinance.

“The current regulatory framework has been proven to be effective,” he said. — DayakDaily