Malaysia’s TNB Making Progress on Nationwide Digital Transformation
In a recent Engerati webinar, Tenaga Nasional Berhard (TNB) shared the giant utility’s ambitious vision to equip Malaysia – and utilities across Asia Pacific — with IoT-enabling technology. They shared progress to date and details of the benefits of this vision. Read highlights below.
As the digital revolution continues transforming the way that businesses and individuals function and interact daily, the utility industry has begun to recognize the need for new business models and frameworks. Smart meters and distributed energy are here to stay and the emerging IoT era is bringing myriad new products and disrupting approaches to energy enterprise management. TNB sees communications as the key enabler in digital utility transformation. Specifically, a communication platform that supports decentralized generation and bi-directional flows (of data and energy) can enable new revenue streams. TNB is currently embarking on a nationwide project in Malaysia that seeks to digitalize not only its own operations but also utilities throughout the Asia Pacific region.
Securing the Benefits, Beginning with AMI
TNB’s approach begins with communications that enable AMI. Utilities can utilize smart applications to provide automatic and remote meter reading. Customers gain easy access to accurate billing statements or to a web portal where users can view a detailed monthly comparison of their electricity consumption. It’s a more user-centric experience with interactive and accurate information pertaining to their household’s energy usage.
Smart communications can advance security, too. Meter data communications help detect theft of electricity or unplanned outages. Frequent or real-time analysis of outage management can also notify customers of planned outages and anticipated restoration times to minimize the level of inconvenience it presents.
A unifying communications platform also supports smart channels like smart payment systems, connect and disconnect notifications and time of use billing. A smart payment system simply offers a prepaid option for individual customers, increasing convenience and accessibility for individuals. A connect and disconnect system that provides notifications to customers prior to disconnection can assist everyday users in contributing to the industry-wide effort to increase energy efficiency, an important factor in the fast-growing economic markets of Southeast Asia. Time of use billing allows users to reduce their energy expenses and maximize savings by shifting their energy use to partial-peak or off-peak hours of the day.
Smart data is a powerful emerging aspect enabled by foundational communications. It holds the potential to transform big data into actionable findings by making information accessible in a timely way to help drive decisions for business operations. This functionality can support demand response, data management systems and quality of supply monitoring.
Preparing for EVs and Solar…
Communications lay the foundation for successfully incorporating an increasing volume of electric vehicles and solar energy, too. Smart metering for EVs and solar PV requires two-way communications between the meter and utility provider. Utilities will increasingly be required to integrate not only electric vehicles, but also the overall implementation of electrified transportation systems, specifically those that integrate renewable-based vehicle charging systems. With the use of smart metering capabilities, a connection can be established between vehicles and the grid to provide users with the ability to control operations and attain analysis of your vehicle through the web portal.
Where are we Now?
TNB first initiated this digital transformation plan with a 2015 pilot project that implemented 1,000 smart meters in Melaka and Putrajaya. After analyzing the project’s success and understanding the overall project’s potential, they began to focus on the next phases of this digitization process. Currently TNB is in the process of the first phase of the nationwide deployment, deploying smart meters to 340,000 customers in Melaka.
Next in phase two for 2018, TNB plans to continue the nationwide implementation of smart meters, reaching at least 2 million smart meters, with the program expected to conclude in 2022 reaching at least 8.3 million TNB customers throughout Malaysia.
With one of the most thriving economies in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is a perfect incubator for demonstrating the full potential of nationwide smart meters. Not only will this initiative ease the everyday job of utility providers, but it will largely benefit individuals who will be capable of directly controlling their utilities and customizing its functionality based on their day-to-day schedules. This cutting-edge market intelligence has the potential to transform the ways that businesses and individuals function and interact, while also providing a sustainable effort to minimize energy loss and increase overall efficiency. To learn more, access the webinar on demand here.