DOESN’T ADD UP:Gerakan calls for NGOs to sit on committee to hear complaints about unreasonably high electricity bills
TENAGA Nasional Berhad needs to set up a different committee to handle complaints by consumers.
The call was made by Gerakan Selangor Public Complaints Bureau chief Phua Hean Sim.
Phua said the committee must comprise experts and representatives from non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
"Currently, TNB has a panel of experts to deal with consumer disputes mostly on electricity bills. However, we feel that a different committee with NGO involvement is needed to address problems faced by consumers.
"While we don't have the exact number of such complaints in Selangor, they are genuine cases which urgently need TNB's attention." said Phua.
He said most consumers would channel their complaints to TNB before resorting to legal action if they felt that the bills charges were inaccurate and unreasonably high.
"Consumers will thus incur unnecessary cost and time. TNB should make resolving consumer complaints part of its corporate social responsibilities," added Phua.
He said this after meeting complainant Lai Chee Meng, 62, who claimed that he was asked to pay TNB RM2,307 in arrears.
"I received a letter threatening to cut my electric supply if I don't pay up on June 16 last year," said Lai.
"I was baffled as my wife and I moved into our apartment unit in Taman Muda only in 2007, and we have been paying bills of no more than RM100 ever since.
"I went to the Jalan Klang Lama office immediately upon receiving the letter and after discussion, I was told that amount could only be reduced to RM1,500. I was willing to pay RM500, but not the amount it demanded, as I earn only RM1,000 per month," said the van driver.
He added that his electricity meter was replaced with a new one in April last year.
He said if TNB had detected electricity theft, it should have addressed the matter immediately and not wait for years to settle it.
"If we had stolen the electricity, then it is only right that TNB furnish the proof before deciding to penalise us," added Lai.
Also present was Selangor Gerakan Youth chief and Public Complaints Bureau chief for the Teratai constituency, Ben Liew Pok Boon.
Liew said they were willing to meet TNB officials to solve the matter amicably before taking it to court.
Meanwhile, a TNB spokesman said the matter is being looked into.