KUCHING, Dec 28: The Ministry of Utilities and Sarawak Energy Berhad will be monitoring closely the implementation of the new RM40 electricity rebate programme in the state, which starts on Jan 1, 2019.
The federal Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change recently announced this programme to replace the existing RM20 rebate initiative, but those eligible are confined to those with monthly household earnings of RM950 and below and registered under the federal eKasih programme.
But the Ministry of Utilities feels that this change would impact consumers from the lower income groups who continue to need assistance but may not be registered under eKasih.
The state ministry, hence, suggested that a thorough study be undertaken by the relevant federal ministries to address this gap as this would impact the whole country, not just in Sarawak.
The current rebate for electricity usage of RM20 and below was an initiative introduced in October 2008 by the then Federal Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water to subsidise electricity bills for lower income groups who typically consume less electricity to meet their basic necessities.
This was implemented nationwide, where the mechanism for the relevant state utility was through direct reimbursement from the federal ministry.
Since its introduction in 2008, the federal government has been subsidising the programme through this direct reimbursement mechanism. For implementation in the state, Sarawak Energy waived payment for electricity bills of RM20 and below.
This is subsequently submitted for reimbursement by Sarawak Energy to the federal government, now through the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change.
In 2014, the late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem announced that the state government would reduce domestic electricity tariffs from 2015 onwards, ensuring a greater number of beneficiaries in Sarawak would be enjoying the ongoing RM20 rebate initiative by the federal government.— DayakDaily