Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 7th of June 2014
I would like to congratulate Ms Catherine Ridu on her appointment as the new CEO of the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) on the 2nd of June, 2014. The Renewable Energy (RE) sector in Malaysia faces many challenges as well as opportunities and I hope that Ms Ridu will bring her experience as the Under-Secretary of the Regulatory and Industry Development Division, Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA) to ensure the sustained growth of the renewable energy sector in Malaysia.
SEDA was set up with ‘transparency, openness and integrity’ as one of its core values and thus far, it is one of the few government agencies that is trying to live up to this core value. One example of this is the publication of the names of companies and their allocated Feed in Tariff (FiT) Quota on SEDA’s website.
Yesterday, on the 6th of June, 2014, SEDA held a briefing to all the solar photovoltaic (PC) / solar panel system providers (SP) at the IOI Resort to give an update on the queuing system for Solar PV individual FiT applications. In this briefing, SEDA admitted and apologized for the fact that their e-FIT system to distribute queuing numbers for the individual solar PV quotas had to be suspended because there were too many applicants trying to log into the system.
In this briefing, SEDA revealed that there were a total of 3865 applications for the 8MW of individual solar PV quota for 2014. Out of these applications, 1110 applications were successful in obtaining a queue number and hence a FiT quota for 2014. Another 296 applications were successful in obtaining a queue number that entitles them to a FiT quota for 2015. For the remaining 2459 applicants, they were not able to get any queue numbers presumably because they were not able to log into the system. SEDA should have anticipated the possibility of a large number of people trying to log on to the system since the same thing occurred when SEDA first opened up its e-FiT system on the 1st of December, 2011. This is a major failing on the part of SEDA and as a result has caused much unhappiness and suspicion among the system providers that the allocation of queue numbers had been ‘manipulated’.
At this briefing, SEDA promised the following remedial actions as a result of its inability to properly manage the e-FIT system to allocate queue numbers:
(i) Provide queue numbers for the 2015 and 2016 quota to applicants who did not receive any queue numbers as a result of their inability to log into the system
(ii) To use a balloting system (either physical balloting or using a computerised balloting system via a random number generator) that will be managed by an independent third party
(iii) Publish the list of companies who obtained the queue numbers and FiT allocation for 2014 and 2015 (subject to legal approval) to ensure greater transparency and to assure the public that there was no ‘hanky panky’ in the awarding of these queue numbers
(iv) Propose to the Ministry that the 296 applicants who received queue numbers for 2015 be given a quota for 2014 instead
(v) Consider providing a refund for the applicants who want to withdraw from bidding for a FiT quota after failing to obtain a queue number
(vi) Propose to the Ministry that the current basic rate for solar PV (individual) for 2014 will not digress in 2015
(vii) Promise to allocate the 2015 quota by the end of this year so that the systems provider can start the installation on the 1st of January, 2015.
I hope that the new CEO of SEDA, Ms Ridu, can keep to the above mentioned promises made yesterday by SEDA Chief Operating Officer, Ir Dr. Ali Askar and his team.
In addition, I request for the new CEO to carry out the following:
(i) Publish the full accounts of the Renewable Energy (RE) Fund which stood at RM510 million at the end of 2012. Article 27 of the Renewable Energy Act 2011 requires that SEDA prepares the accounts of the RE Fund and tables this account in parliament. To date, no accounts of the RE Fund have been tabled in parliament. The public has a right to know how their contribution to the RE fund – the 1.6% of their electricity bill – has been and is being spent.
(ii) Publish the full list of FiT Quotas which have been revoked as a result of non-installation to ensure transparency and to show that these revoked quotas have been opened up for new bidding.
(iii) Consider re-allocating some of the Solar PV quota from big projects i.e. <245kWh to smaller quotas to fulfil the demand from the small players which is likely to have a greater multiplier effect on the solar PV sector and will benefit a larger number of end consumers.
I wish Ms Ridu all the best in her term as the new SEDA CEO.
 The Accounts of the RE Fund is different from the Accounts of SEDA which have been tabled in parliament as part of SEDA’s annual reports 2011 and 2012.