Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tenaga runs on gas and coal, not oil

Electricity tariffs were raised 24% in June. Oil prices have since fallen dramatically and people are now demanding Tenaga reduce power tariffs. But our electricity is generated using gas and coal, for which prices are still high.

In fact, the main beneficiary of the 24% electricity tariff hike is Petronas, which more than doubled its gas price to Tenaga – to RM14.31/mmBTU, from RM6.50/mmBTU! Besides higher gas prices, Tenaga is also incurring higher coal prices, which at about US$95 today are still 25% higher than the average US$76/MT Tenaga incurred in its last financial year ended Aug 08. The pain will be made even worse by the depreciating ringgit.

Some numbers will illustrate this. That 24% tariff hike will add about RM5.5bn pa to Tenaga’s revenue. Of that, RM5.3bn goes to third parties, leaving Tenaga with just a measly RM200m of the RM5.5bn additional revenue:

  1. RM4.2bn (76%) goes to Petronas to cover the increased price of gas;
  2. RM1.0bn to cover higher coal prices:
    RM0.3bn because of the the US$ increase in price to US$95; and b. An additional RM0.7bn due to the weaker ringgit, assuming an average RM3.70:US$1 instead of RM3.30
  3. RM135m for capacity payments to new IPP Jimah.

In fact, by next year, Tenaga will be in a negative situation again because capacity payments to Jimah will rise to RM 700m! If you want lower power tariffs, the appropriate targets are the IPPs which have earned exorbitant returns and Petronas, not Tenaga.

Tenaga is under-appreciated. Its services have improved tremendously in recent years. So tremendously that we don’t appreciate how much effort goes into delivering that stable and reliable power supply. If Telekom were running the power sector, we would still be suffering frequent brownouts (noisy fixed lines is the telecoms equivalent), blackouts (unstable Streamyx connections) and some areas without power at all (sorry, tak cukup kapasiti di sana untuk talian baru).

And yet Telekom gets a RM2.4bn handout of taxpayers’ money to do high-speed broadband while Tenaga is pilloried for high power tariffs which are not its fault in the first place.

If there’s one GLC to target for inefficiency, it’s Telekom. Why do we still have to pay Telekom RM25/month for fixed line ‘rental’? My housing estate was built in the 1970s. Surely after over 30 years Telekom has already more than covered its capital cost of laying down the telephone lines. And then there are the huge issues with Streamyx ….


de minimis said...

Chi Chang

I fully agree with you that Tenaga is not necessarily the culprit on the electricity tariff hike. We need to ask for greater transparency in the Power Purchase Agreements and the ongoing plans to draft a National Energy Plan. The IPPs are a drag and they are the ones we need to examine in greater detail if we are to truly achieve a review of the industry for the benefit of Malaysian consumers.

As for Telekom, I fully agree that the monthly fixed rental charge is superfluous and redundant. It needs a serious review.

Unknown said...

but i remember reading the justification for the electricity tariff hike was based on higher oil prices? no? maybe i read wrong.

but anyway, i fully concur that TNB is actually doing a good job. just last nite at about 1130pm a street light transformer (i think so but is not sure) possible over load and sparkled with fire.

about 30 over household power was cut off and we called bomba and tnb.

bomba arrive first and put out the fire about half an hour later tnb arrived - told us they cant fix it but need another team to do the job

most of us was resigned to the fact and speculate that we will have to wait till noon.

but surprise surprise tnb got it fix around 3pm!

just a phone call!

compared to calling for help for slow streamyx connection. email ding dong ding dong for a week and a technician came over - did an online speed test and declare that nothing is wrong... 1 bloody week to respond and till today my download speed varies between 3-4kb/s on a bad day to 50-80kb/s on a good day... wtf.

since streamy and telekom are the same - why cant we have a combined bill of RM88 or whatever plan we subscribe to and waive the phone rental?

what are we paying for for the phone rental anyway?

we are always on mobile.

dont think i have call beyond RM15 using the land line nowadays.

but he cc tks for an insightful analysis!