Sarawak govt to bear nearly RM200 mln electricity, water bills discounts for next six months

File photo of a stack of utility bills.

KUCHING, Aug 3: The Sarawak government will bear the cost of utility bill discounts for electricity and water amounting to nearly RM200 million over a period of six months from July to December this year under the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 6.0.

Minister for Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom emphasised that more than 647,000 customers from domestic, commercial and industrial sectors will benefit from these discounts as the State government has taken a measured, proactive and caring approach towards reducing the burden on the people by extending various forms of aid and assistance through BKSS.

“For electricity supply, the rakyat are eligible for discounts ranging between five and 25 per cent which will be reflected in their bills. This will cost the Sarawak government around RM166.8 million over a period of six months.

“Overall, the discounts are expected to cost the government RM583 million in total since it was first introduced in April 2020 for the period up to December 2021,” he said in a statement today.

Moreover, he added that customers who still have difficulty in paying their bills may utilise Sarawak Energy’s flexible payment plan for a more affordable monthly payment.

For water bills in which the discounts ranged between 10 and 25 per cent, Rundi disclosed the government will bear the cost totalling RM32.1 million over the next six months.

While Sarawak’s average tariffs for water and electricity are already amongst the lowest in Malaysia and the surrounding region, he pointed out that the government has lowered electricity tariffs in Sarawak twice in the past few years.

“Sarawak Energy’s domestic customers enjoy average tariffs that are about 40 per cent lower than the average tariff in Peninsular Malaysia.

“We will continue to ensure that Sarawakians benefit from an efficient tariff structure that is fair and equitable to the customers and reflects the real cost of supply to the various consumer groups,” Rundi assured.

The Sarawak government, he said, continues to put the people first by focusing on efforts to alleviate the economic burden for Sarawakians over this challenging period due to the Covid-19 pandemic, especially for those who needed the assistance most.

Meanwhile, the implementation of the previous five phases of the BKSS costs the Sarawak government a total of RM3.1 billion, which is needed to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the rakyat.

The assistance rendered under the BKSS 6.0 in the form of cash payouts and discount incentives includes financial aid for B40 households and single individuals aged 21 and above, food aid, special allowances for frontliners, discounts on assessment rates, rental assistance scheme under the Housing Development Corporation and special grants for small businesses, among others.

“While we remain positive and hopeful that with the intensive roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, coupled with the embarking of the post-covid development strategy, we are beginning on our road to recovery from the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The government remains firmly committed to help alleviate the hardship faced by the rakyat. Please be vigilant in the fight against Covid-19 and stay safe,” he added. — DayakDaily