PETALING JAYA: Cooling homes and offices is big business due to Malaysia’s year-round hot and humid equatorial climate.
But changing a few simple habits can save consumers’ money and will be better for the environment, says Malaysian eco-activist Gurmit Singh.
“Research has shown in typical urban households in Malaysia, the highest electricity consumption goes to the air conditioner, followed by the fridge and water heater.
“If we tackle these three pieces of electrical appliances, we will be able to save a fair bit of electricity usage,” he said.
The chairman and founding executive director of Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia (Cetdem) said many do not realise the temperature need not be set too cold.
“The same goes for offices. It is a waste of electricity by setting the temperature so low.
“Some hotels and offices are so cold that people have to dress as if they are in winter.
“Every degree we raise we are saving 10% of electricity consumption. If we raise five degrees, then we save at least 50% of the consumption.
“I think there is a lot of potential to reduce electricity consumption by increasing the thermostat or temperature setting of our air conditioner,” he said, adding that another simple rule of thumb is to switch off any electric appliances when not in use.
Gurmit, however, noted that in general, Malaysians care very little when it comes to saving energy.
“The problem with Malaysians is that we are so used to cheap electricity that many just couldn’t care less about electricity.
“Many tend to think they have enough money that they can afford to use as much electricity as they want.
“Such mindset has been like that for many years. They only hurt when their electricity bills surged suddenly,” he added.
Gurmit was referring to the case of consumers complaining of an unusual increase in their utility bills, which Tenaga Nasional acknowledged was a technical glitch in the system. (see related post below)
Pointing out that Malaysia’s electricity consumption is rather high, Gurmit noted the fact that the generation of electricity also contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases must not be omitted.
“Our per capita greenhouse gas emission is one of the highest in our region – we are probably only second to Singapore and similar to some European countries.
“It clearly shows that we use a lot of energy unnecessarily, not only in the electricity sector,” he said, adding that Malaysians must move away from that practice.
Yeo said the high electricity bills problem was in most cases due to TNB’s technical problem in billing the customers. — Picture by Saw S..