By ZAIDI ISHAM ISMAIL
FOR the past several weeks, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has been whacked from all directions by the people.
This is due to discrepancies in the amount of the electricity bills, of which some quarters of the people have claimed to be too high.
Despite numerous clarifications in social media and carrying several advertorials in local newspapers, TNB continued to be bombarded by brickbats from the people.
TNB became the rakyat's fodder on social media such as Whatsapp and Facebook and lambasted with relentless demeaning memes and tirades.
Thus it was a great relief to the people when the government under the stewardship of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin agreed to relieve the people's burden.
Under the Bantuan Prihatin Elektrik, the government which owns TNB agreed to absorb all the electricity costs incurred by the people during the Movement Control Order (MCO) enforced in March.
But underneath it all, TNB must not be crestfallen by all the criticisms and take all the setback at heart.
The national utility provider must continue to trudge forward to do what it knows best which is to deliver power to the people and industries at the most competitive prices.
After all, TNB holds the distinction as being one of the world's best utilities provider.
In January this year, Brand Finance accorded TNB as Asean's most valuable utility brand and the world's third strongest utility brand based on the company's brand value of US$2.74 billion.
TNB is consistently one of Bursa Malaysia's top two most capitalised firm, neck to neck only with Maybank.
TNB's System Average Interruption Duration Index also improved to 48.22 minutes per customer per year in 2018 from 50.88 minutes in 2017.
What this means is that the power outage or blackout in the country had became lesser and lesser.
TNB also provides employment to many Malaysians and foreigners and many have become accomplished electrical engineers and technicians in their own right.
Let's not forget that TNB arguably provides the best medical coverage in the country to its employees which extends long after the staff retires.
And media practitioners can attest that TNB is by far among the most transparent and media friendly organisations in the nation.
As a public listed firm, TNB practises the highest standard in corporate governance and furnishes all of its operational details to the letter and nothing is swept under the carpet.
So TNB must not be disheartened and take too long to lick its wounds.
After all, COVID-19 was not their fault and as a government-owned entity, TNB must adhere to the government of the day which has the interest of the people at heart.
But in all fairness, TNB should be fined just as it was fined last year by the Energy Commission following complaints by the people.
The commission had issued 36 compound notices totalling RM3.6 million against TNB in December 2019 after investigating complaints from consumers on high electricity bills in May and June of 2019.
TNB should pick up the pieces and soldier on and put behind this episode.
TNB has come a long way ever since its establishment in 1949 as the Central Electricity Board.
TNB now supplies electricity to almost 8 million households and has now stretched its wings to establish its presence in more than five countries.
TNB has also set its sights to become one of the world's top 10 utility firms by market capitalisation by 2025.
Once COVID-19 dissipates, there is a lot of work to be done.
The country will need power to electrify new townhouses and factories.
And TNB as always will be there to play its role in brightening up the economy and power up the country's engines of growth. - DagangNews.com
The writer is a former NST Business Assistant Editor and now a freelance writer with DagangNews.