Between 70,000 and 80,000 households in Sarawak are enjoying free electricity, said State Public Utilities Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.
He said these households need not pay for power supply as their monthly bills were less than RM20.
He said the bills were being absorbed by the Federal Government which reimburses the state utility firm Syarikat SESCo.
Speaking to reporters here yesterday, he said: “The Federal Government is helping families with low or no permanent incomes and the monthly bills totalled more than RM1mil.”
On electricity tariffs, he said the average tariffs for commercial, industrial and domestic users in Sarawak was 29 sen per kilowatt-hour (kWh) as compared to 32sen per kWh in Peninsular Malaysia.
The figures were based on a study carried out by Tenaga Nasional Bhd among 10 utilities firms in East Asian countries last year.
Awang Tengah dismissed as baseless Meradong assemblyman Ting Tze Fui’s claims that electricity tariffs in Sarawak were much higher than the peninsula.
He said Sarawak revised its tariff rates two years ago while it was revised twice between 2006 and last year in Peninsular Malaysia.
Awang Tengah said the state tariff rates had remained unchanged for 15 years before the 2007 revision.