IPOH: The High Court today dismissed the judicial review application filed by law firm B.H. Koh, Soong, Zarin and Partners to compel the Energy, Green Technology and Water minister to instruct the Energy Commission, as a regulator for Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), to have the annual 2.5 per cent rebate reflected in the January bill.
Judge Datuk Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali, in dismissing the application, said no mandamus order would be issued as the Energy Commission Act 2001 stated that the power of the minister was subjected to discretionary and general directions, but not absolute.
Che Mohd Ruzima said after taking into consideration both parties, as well as reviewing decision by the Court of Appeal and Federal Court, the mandamus order could not be granted unless it is proved that the law firm suffered damages or losses.
“TNB, which had replied to the complainant's inquiry on June 18, 2017, clearly explained how the rebate payment is made to consumers.
“TNB is not closing its door to return to its previous practice (the rebate not being credited into the deposit account). As such, the court has to dismiss the application as this is a question of law involving the interests of other users, at no cost,” he said.
Under the Electricity Supply Act 1990, the rebate to customers as a form of dividend for deposits paid to it had always been reflected in the January electricity bill every year.
However, since last year, there were changes to the method of the exercise, whereby the rebate was instead credited into the deposit account.
On Aug 1 last year, the law firm located at No 1A & 3A, Medan Court 2, Bandar Ipoh Raya filed an application for juridical review for a mandamus order to indicate the annual 2.5 per cent rebate in the electricity bill in accordance with Regulation 5 Licence Supply Regulations 1990.
The firm which was represented by Andrew Soong Tze Toong claimed that the Minister, as the first respondent, had made a mistake in terms of facts and law when he failed to take action against the second respondent, the Energy Commission, regarding the complaint letter which the law firm had sent on June 19 last year.
The law firm claimed that the first respondent had also ignored his role as a minister in ensuring the regulatory mechanism was implemented in accordance with the existing provisions under Section 16 of the Energy Commission Act 2001.
It also claimed that the second respondent had made a mistake in terms of fact or law when it failed to appreciate and consider the entire facts of the case together with the supporting documents when the firm lodged the complaint on March 9, 2017.
Federal counsel S. Malar Selvi acted on behalf of the first respondent while counsel, Dir (correct) Kheizwan Kamaruddin and Muhammad Fairuz Ahmad Yusof represented the commission.