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Archive for June, 2008

[Since AhYap.com is a weird blog, I choose to write about electricity while everyone is writing about petrol, haha.]

When I look at Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) business model, I think it is a joke. However, many people including all those ‘experts’ in newspaper think that Tenaga Nasional is a very good stock because it has a monopoly on the electricity supply of Malaysia. All houses and businesses in Malaysia must pay TNB to get their electric, to watch Astro, refrigerate their watermelon and surf porn online. They also say it is a very good business because TNB income is very ’stable’ and so you can also expect to receive ’stable’ dividends.

But listen carefully, a monopoly business doesn’t mean it is a great business. And ’stable’ income doesn’t equal to ’stable’ dividends.

The biggest problem with TNB is that they simply control the price of their goods (electricity)! Even if their cost jump up a lot, they still can’t adjust their tariff (until yesterday). What is the meaning of monopoly when you can’t even control the price of your product! When you can’t control the selling price of your product but at the same time the cost of your product keep increasing, you will make less money or even lose money!

At this case, the monopoly end up hurting itself. What is benefit of your monopoly when you have to sell something fixed at RM100 while you produce it at RM150! And because you monopoly, you become compulsory to lose that RM50 no matter what. And the more customers you have, the more money you are compulsory to lose!

Do you think it is funny if your business look like that? Do you want to own such businesses? How do you expect to receive ’stable’ dividends when you have ’stable’ loses! Businesses can’t pay you good dividends when they are actually burning money, instead of generating money.

[The above examples are over-exaggerated by AhYap for Drama Effect, TNB is still able to cover their cost and make some money, but not a lot of money. They are also paying dividends, but not a lot of dividends. And with such business model, I don't think they can make good money and pay good dividends in the future even after the rate hike.]

It becomes more ridiculous when you realized that TNB runs on a business model that punish big customers! I don’t know what other businesses would do that and I really can’t accept that as an investor and a consumer. When you use less electricity, you pay lower tariff. The more you use, the higher the tariff would go! That would means if you buy 1 burger from McDonald, they charge you RM3, if you buy 2, they have to charge you RM10! WTF.

Businesses are meant to make money. Businesses like TNB is a ridiculous business because it didn’t reward their customers that use more! And end up investors don’t make much money from owning this stupid business.

It is almost guaranteed that if you spend more in a shop or buy more of a same products, the shop will happily give you discounts! That’s the correct way to do business, to motivate their customer to spend more so they can make more money. The customer is happy to get the discount and the business owner (and the investor) is happy to make more money. It is a win-win situation.

If you buy a box of Durex with 12 condoms in it, you expect each unit to cost less than the 3 condom pack! They motivate you to buy more (and fuck more), so you get more discount and enjoyment while they make more money. Same applies to Head and Shoulder shampoos, Whisper pads, Jack n Jill potato chips, Scottex toilet paper, Renoma underwear and almost everything else. The bigger pack you buy, the cheaper the averaged cost per unit.

If you go to popular restaurants like McDonald, KFC, PizzaHut, Starbucks, etc. All add ons are always cheaper than your initial purchase. McDonald sells 1 banana pie for RM2 and 2 pies for RM3! Starbucks large coffee is double the size of the small but cost only RM 2 extra! PizzaHut lets you add-on a salad bowl for only RM1 (normal price RM6) when you already order main course. [Damn it, suddenly I realized I eat a lot of junk food.]

Usually if you buy cloths over certain amount, say RM200, you will automatically get say 10% discounts. They are motivating you to spend more so they can make more money. Some shops will give you free gifts (actually sample/trial packs as bait to fish you for buying more in the future). Even if they don’t give you discount, they might give you a cool paper bag to wrap your goods instead of plastic bag so you look more cool when walking around the shopping complex.

Credit card companies motivate you to spend more by giving your bonus points to redeem for gifts! And they even motivate you to owe more money by offering you lower interest rate the more you owe them. So they can make more interest income from you. Even lousy companies like Malaysia Airlines (MAS) offer Enrich Miles to let their customers earn free flights. The more your fly, the more free flights you can redeem. And you got more Enrich Miles if you fly first class or business class (so they can charge you more on those seats). We also have Bonus Link card, Real Rewards card, Jusco Card and even Sen Heng card! The more you spend, the more gift/discounts you get.

Service industries motivate you to buy more by offering you bulk packages. Your averaged cost of signing up a 12 sessions slimming treatment at Terimee is cheaper than you sign up for 3. Your averaged cost of signing up a life time membership with California Fitness is cheaper than a 1 year membership. Even the QQ Express Cut at Mid Valley gives me a stamping cut that gives me 1 free cut for every 6 cut, so you earn an extra idiot look hair cut after they make you look like a sohai for 6 times! Many food restaurants like Coffee Bean are giving away loyalty cards that earn 1 stamp for each visit. And you can redeem free drinks/food after certain amount of visits.

It is very clear that businesses should always reward customers that spend more and customers that are loyal. But what does TNB do? They punish them! The more electric you use, the more expensive you need to pay. This is stupid.

I understand the reason behind this ‘ridiculous’ tariff structure is because the government wants us to spend less on electricity to save on energy. If that is the case, TNB can be considered as a good government entity or an environment friendly company BUT DEFINITELY not a good business/investment.

As a consumer, I want cheaper goods if I spend more. As an investor, I want a company that will motivate their customers to spend more so it can make more money for me. Thus, as a consumer and an investor, I think TNB-sucks-damn-a-lot.

There are many perspectives to look at businesses and this is one of the very rare one. I don’t expect you to read it in newspaper. I end my post with our new electricity tariff for you to enjoy.

Home Use (Monthly Usage < 400kWh)
kWh Tariff (cent)
1-200 21.80
200-400 34.50
Home Use (Monthly Usage > 400kWh)
kWh Tariff (cent)
1-500 30.00
501-600 39.00
601-700 40.00
701-800 41.00
801-900 43.00
>901 46.00

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