PETALING JAYA, March 12 — Malaysians are willing to pay more for their electricity bill for comfort, rather than suffer in the heat.
Nor Huda Mat Yunus, 50, said she did not usually encourage her children to have the air-conditioning (AC) on for a long time, but with the unforgiving hot weather, she is left with no choice.
“The past month has been exceptionally hot, we cannot just rely on fans alone. It has gotten so hot that we even have to sleep with the AC on,” said the mother of three who works as a laboratory assistant.
When told Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) had come up with several recommendations for consumers to follow during peak energy consumption times between 2pm and 5pm, Nor Huda said it was not realistic.
“You cannot expect us to turn the air conditioning on at 23-25 degrees Celsius. We might as well not turn it on and use the fans instead as the outcome is the same.
“I pay my electricity bills so my usage should not be restricted. We can try to reduce it but when the situation calls for you to turn the air-conditioning on, or boil water, or do laundry at any time of the day, you have to. They are basic necessities,” she said.
Besides setting air conditioners at 23 to 25 degrees Celcius, TNB yesterday advised consumers to iron and wash clothes at night and boil water during off-peak hours.
Housewife Thilagam Muniandy, 38, also said with the scorching weather, it was absurd to follow TNB’s suggestion to keep the temperature at 23-25 degrees Celsius during the hottest time of the day.
“Everyone knows afternoon is when we have the worst heat. I used to sit on the tiled floor and have the table fan blowing straight at me, but still end up drenching my clothes in sweat.
“I have no choice but to turn on the air-conditioning at 18 degree Celsius even though our monthly electricity bill comes up to as high as RM200,” said Thilagam.
She said she had heard of a tip to reduce electricity consumption by disconnecting electrical appliances from the wall socket when they are not in use, and TNB should be advising people to do that.
“But to forbid us to even boil water in the afternoon is weird. How do I get to make tea or coffee for tea-time for my family then?” said Thilagam.
Lee Ze Tong, 29, a social worker said the suggestion to set air-conditioning at between 23 and 25 degrees Celsius was laughable.
“That is about equal to the outside temperature at night. What is the point of having air-conditioning if you end up sweating it out indoors?” he asked.
He suggested that rather than tell consumers to adjust their lifestyle, the power companies should look into ways to increase their capacity.
“We are being steadily charged more for electricity, so I do not believe the power companies have the right to dictate how we consume power,” he said.
Noor Maslan Hamzah, 43, a banker said the power providers were worming their way out of their responsibilities.
“Just where do they get off telling consumers how to live? We are paying through our noses for high power prices.
“I wonder if those in charge of the power companies will take their own advice and so-called power saving measures,” he said.
Noor Maslan said rather than pass the buck to consumers the power companies needed to fulfil their responsibilities.