The four-hour  power blackout in five states today totally unacceptable and TNB should compensate all the consumers affected by  the power disruption

Media Comment
by Lim Kit Siang

(PenangMonday): The four-hour power blackout  in five states from just before 10 a.m. today which hit Penang, Perak, Kedah, Perlis and Kelantan is totally unacceptable and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) should compensate all the consumers in the five states affected by the power disruption.

TNB president and chief executive officer Datuk Pian Sukro  said the tripping was due to glitches in the power distribution system and not caused by sabotage or "low voltage capacity".

Pian said  TNB's nation-wide power supply capacity was more than adequate,  but the tripping which occurred today was caused by the distribution system.  TNB  conducted maintenance work at one of its major distribution lines today but the one which was placed on standby suddenly "tripped", causing the outage.

Malaysians, in particular the consumers in the five affected states, are entitled to a full and proper accounting for the cause of the “tripping” and the  five-hour power disruption.  It is fortunate that the blackout happened on a national holiday, or the damage and losses in the five affected states would be very much higher. 

In London, TNB’s counterpart, National Grid faces a fine of  up to one billion pound sterling or RM6 billion for the half-hour massive-power failure that brought much of central London to a rush-hour standstill last Friday.

The penalties are  triggered if National Grid is found to have breached its licence by not maintaining the electricity grid to the required standard.  Furthermore, the pay package including bonus of the chief executive and directors of National Grid are geared to the ability of National Grid to deliver power around the country.  If an inquiry concluded that a power blackout was the fault of management, the chief executive and directors would lose out financially – running into millions of pounds or tens of millions of ringgit.

Is there a similar provision to hold the TNB, its chief executive and directors,  to accountability and minimal efficiency to the consumers in Malaysia?  If not, Parliament when it meets tomorrow should urgently debate the introduction of a similar provision. In the meanwhile, TNB should compensate all the consumers in the five states for the power disruption.


Although TNB has disclaimed responsibility for the power disruption at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) which affected four domestic and two international flights, kLIA’s reputation will suffer another blow as  the traveling public are not bothered as to which authority is responsible for the KLIA power supply.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman