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TNB surcharge - Can you get your money back if you have already overpaid?

3 months ago Shreya M

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This article is for general informational purposes only and is not meant to be used or construed as legal advice in any manner whatsoever. All articles have been scrutinized by a practicing lawyer to ensure accuracy.

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Last month, residents all over the country started noticing a sudden surge in their electricity bills and, at the time of writing, over 14,000 reports have been made to TNB.

TNB acknowledged the billing problems and CEO Amir Hamzah Azizan mentioned there were several reasons behind the surge, for instance;

  • some account holders were billed longer than the usual 30-day cycle 
  • cases of old and faulty TNB meters
  • replacement of new meters
  • an increase in consumer’s usage, and; 
  • human error where data was logged wrongly.

If your bill has been affected as well, there are several avenues as to how you could lodge a complaint. 

 

Firstly, what should you do if you notice an error in your bill? 

Image from SoyaCincau.com

If you’ve noticed a surge in your electricity bill in the past month, you should actually recheck your bill via TNB’s website or through their MyTNB app . You might discover that your online bill may not be identical to your printed bill.

If the amounts are different, you can call their Careline at 15454 or email them at tnbcareline@tnb.com.my  where you can get clarification about the possible discrepancy in your bill.

However, TNB actually recommends that you print your online bill and bring it along with your printed bill to any Kedai Tenaga closest to you to get a confirmation on the error made. This is because only the personnel at Kedai Tenaga are authorized to access your usage data. 

Once you’ve gotten a confirmation of a discrepancy, you would be able to lodge an official report.

 

 

Can you get your money back if you’ve already paid? 

Image from makeameme.org

If you’ve already paid for the surge, you would be entitled for a refund as TNB is bound by the Electricity Supply Act 1990 under Section 9C(1)(c).

Under the authority of this Act, TNB would have to comply to guidelines set by the Energy Commission on the standards of performance for their services towards customers which also includes any procedures of compensation in the case there is a breach.  

Section 9C 1(c) of the Electricity Supply Act 1990 (in part)

9C. (1) The Commission may, from time to time, issue codes, guidelines or directions on such standards of performance of supply and services to be implemented by a licensee including procedures for—
[...]
(c) procedures for the compensation of consumers in case of a breach of the standards of performance or a breach of any ofthe licensee’s obligations under the Act; and [...]

In other words, you’re legally entitled to a refund or compensation of some sort. 

However, if you did not receive any feedbacks or refunds after making an official complaint, you can lodge a report to the Energy Commission via the microsite that was launched to provide consumers multiple steps to lodge a complaint. 

 

Now, can TNB be held legally responsible for the negligence?

Image from imgflip.com

Even though TNB may not have purposefully overcharged or intended for an error to happen, they can still be held legally responsible. It’s kinda like how, in a car accident, you will still be fined if you were the one who caused the accident, even though you had no intention to do it. So in TNB’s case, they can be fined for failing to meet consumer requirements, and for negligence.

According to YB Yeo Bee Yin, TNB was deemed to be in breach of Section 9C (1) whereby they have failed to meet consumer requirements by failing to provide a smooth service due to the discrepancies in consumer’s electricity bills which caused the surge.

The section details particularly  that TNB would have to follow the Energy Commission’s guideline to; 

  • reasonably meet consumer’s requirements.
  • handle consumer complaints and disputes

As of 31st May 2019, YB Yeoh Bee Yin has confirmed that TNB would face a penalty even after they’ve provided compensation under Section 37 (15) of the Act for breaching Section 9C(1) where they would face a fine not exceeding RM25,000Section 37 (15) of the Electricity Supply Act 1990 (in part) 

37. (15) Any person- 
  • found guilty of any offence against this Act for which no penalty is expressly provided shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty five thousand ringgit and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a fine not exceeding five hundred ringgit for every day or part of a day during which the offence continues after conviction.

However, there would also be an additional RM500 penalty for each day they fail to provide compensation to a consumer. 

 

TNB has extended their hours to enable customers to lodge complaints. 

Image from mole.my

TNB has assured that the operational hours for Kedai Tenaga has been extended from 8am – 6pm, from Monday to Saturday with the exception of public holidays to handle customer queries and complaints. 

Here is the list of operational hours for all the Kedai Tenaga across Malaysia 

The TNB Careline operative hours have also been extended from 7am – 11pm every day including public holidays with the exception of Sunday. 

[READ MORE: 5 consumer rights you didn’t know you had in Malaysia]

Tags:
tnb
fine
electricity
bills
surge
kedai tenaga
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Shreya M

looks at salary... *cue Naruto's Sadness and Sorrow BGM*


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