By Wan Nazmy Wan Mahmood
OUR resources here on earth are finite, be it water, land and even time. This is especially true when we talk about fossil fuels, which we use to generate electricity.
Despite being the most common form of resource being used to accommodate the world’s energy needs, it’s impact on the environment is undeniable and unsustainable.
As human beings, we owe a duty to protect the environment not just for ourselves and for future generations, but for the uncountable number of flora and fauna that inhabit this beautiful earth alongside us.
This is a challenge that we at Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) are constantly striving to solve – how can we create a more sustainable energy ecosystem for the rakyat?
We strive every day to push the ante on renewable energy and innovate new ways to generate and distribute clean energy to our customers. We envision a future where all households in Malaysia generate their electricity using solar rooftops, equipped with Smart Meters and connected to the grid of the future.
While most Malaysians are now familiar with Smart Meters – an intelligent little device that can communicate data in real time with TNB and relay data to the customer via the myTNB app – what is the grid of the future?
Our nation’s energy ecosystem operates on a grid, and it is on this grid that electricity is distributed to millions of people across the country. The grid of the future is a term we use to describe a smarter, digitally powered network which is designed to enhance our distribution system to be among the most technologically advanced and reliable in the world.
Part of our efforts to create the grid of the future is to digitalise not just our infrastructure, but our customer experience as well. It is in line with market transformation, as consumers become more aware and demand more transparency in the services we provide. This is where the Smart Meter and the myTNB app come in.
Simple as they may seem, they make up the foundation upon which the grid of the future is set upon and is what motivates us to continue installing Smart Meters as we hope to accelerate our nation’s journey towards a smarter and more sustainable future.
To this end, we will invest RM5 bil per annum from 2021 to 2024 to upgrade our infrastructure and create the grid of the future. This investment is not only beneficial to the Malaysian energy ecosystem but can also be seen as investing in the rakyat, as it is forecasted to support over 584,000 jobs within the same period.
The grid of the future is without a doubt, critical to the success of our nation’s energy transition process. Fully automated, it will empower Malaysians to better manage their consumption – an ability already available to Smart Meter users today. It will also lead to the creation of ‘Prosumers’ and the two-way grid, made possible through solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies, whereby consumers can sell excess energy generated through solar rooftops for example, back to the grid through a process known as net metering.
But for the grid of the future to be successful, we need to inculcate energy efficient practices among the rakyat. There needs to be a mindset shift on how we view energy consumption on a day-to-day basis. Consumers need to be aware of the various tools available to them, how TNB can help them become more sustainable and how they can integrate these new technologies into their lifestyle.
Fortunately, we live in the digital age and adapting to new technologies is not as challenging as it was many years ago. Hence why TNB has continued to digitalise our services and our customer experience, to provide an enhanced experience at all touchpoints with an emphasis on going digital.
We have seen more and more of our customers wanting to interact digitally, desiring greater visibility and control over their energy costs. The grid of the future and its digital integration will provide an answer to this demand, enhancing communication efficiency between us and the customer and providing an evolving suite of tools to enable energy efficient practices through the myTNB app.
That said, we also understand that change can be scary. There are still many who prefer the status quo, but if there is anything that 2020 has taught us, it is that change (as frightening as it may be), is necessary and it waits for no one.
Our commitment at TNB is to ensure no Malaysian gets left behind in this wave of change, as we work towards building the grid of the future. With over one million and counting Smart Meters installed, we are consistently working towards educating Malaysians on how they can embrace a smart lifestyle, to reap the benefits of being digitally connected to the grid.
Thus far, we have seen many Smart Meter users successfully reduce their bill by 20-50%, simply using the monitoring capabilities of the myTNB app. We hope to translate their success to the rest of Malaysia too.
We are at the precipice of monumental digital transformation, and we will ensure no Malaysian gets left behind. This is our promise to you, for a better, brighter Malaysia. – June 15, 2021
Wan Nazmy Wan Mahmood is the new Chief Distribution Network Officer at Tenaga Nasional Bhd.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.