Smart Meters: A Progressive System For Better User Experience

Compared to a conventional electricity meter, Smart Meters are equipped with additional digital and telecommunication facilities that allow for two-way communication. This enables the meters to record customers’ electricity usage and automatically communicate this information daily through various channels, primarily using Radio Frequency (RF) and Cellular Network technologies.

According to Tenaga Nasional Berhad, there are many advantages to countries adopting Smart Meter usage and it is evident across the globe. Combining Smart Meters with wider intelligent technology could save buildings alone around 10 percent of their total energy usage.

For example, in the United States (USA) CenterPoint Energy has rolled out over 2.3 million Smart Meters to customers across 28 states and as part of that effort, 400,000 customers have been signed up to an auto-alert outage system which enables the company to identify and respond to electricity outages up to 75 percent faster than before.

This improved network service, alongside greater insight, and opportunity for informed energy use, has led to a:

  1. 10% increase in customer satisfaction
  2. 89% customer approval of the savings enabled by Smart Meters.
  3. 80% approval of the smart grid
  4. 70% noted interest in smart energy appliances.

Closer to home, the Smart Meter is all about to a better user energy experience that has a collective long-term benefit for the rakyat and the nation.

In a conversation with Mohamed Ghous Ahmad, TNB Project Director, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), he shares the progress TNB is making in installing Smart Meters and how this initiative can help propel Malaysia towards a greener nation and at the same time empower Malaysians to make smarter decisions.

Mohamed Ghous Ahmad, TNB Project Director,

“TNB is progressively moving towards an integrated system by using technology to deliver greater flexibility and develop products and services that are accessible to our customers. Our strategy is directed by aspirations to grow the national grid to become one of the smartest, automated and digitally enabled grids,” Ghous tells BusinessToday, who believes the effort will ensure maximum efficiency and reliability of the grid.

And part of their digitalisation projects, the Advance Metering Infrastructure or better known as Smart Meters is on its way to benefit Malaysia in the long-term.

So far, TNB has installed over 1 million Smart Meters in Malacca and across the Klang Valley. The goal, Ghous says, is to install 9.1 million of them across the Peninsula in phases by 2026.

“The information collected by the meters will be shared on the myTNB app and portal for users to track and adjust their energy usage and consumption,” Ghous says.

The meters installed will continuously calculate the energy usage for bill generation and users have the advantage of being able to control the pattern of their daily electricity usage, reduce wastage and their carbon footprint as well as manage their monthly expenditure.

Soon, the Smart Meters will allow for notification of electric supply outages to TNB’s Outage Management System for faster action without waiting for the customer to call and inform TNB of any outages.

Ghous also believes this step towards installing Smart Meters nationwide can help Malaysians take a step in conserving energy, leading to reduced emissions due to a decline in power generation and potentially better air quality for Malaysia.

Awareness

“Awareness in Malaysia has grown since the project’s 2018 inception in Malacca. As mentioned earlier, we are looking to install 9.1 million Smart Meters across the Peninsula by 2026. However, there are challenges,” he says.

Many Malaysians are skeptical about the safety of switching to a Smart Meter, he says. “We are working on educating the public on how this preconception is wrong.”

According to TNB, the level of radio waves that Smart Meters produce is typically one million times less than the internationally agreed guidelines. To illustrate, at 10 feet away, the Smart Meter emits 0.1 Microwatts per square centimeter.

Whereas in comparison to a microwave oven, at 2 inches from the door, the meters emit 1000 Microwatts per square centimeter. 

“All TNB issued radiofrequency devices, including the Smart Meter, are tested and certified by SIRIM for compliance and safety in Malaysia and comply with the safety regulations set and regulated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC),” Ghous highlights.

As part of the installation, TNB will replace the current meter with a brand-new Smart Meter and our technicians will take you through the Smart Meter implementation process. The process will take around an hour.

What role does Smart Meters play in a pandemic?

With Smart Meter, users can monitor their energy consumption and subsequently take a proactive approach to manage their consumption to prevent an unexpected increase in their bills.

Zulaika Shamin from Ampang told BusinessToday that the smart meter smart meter enables her to know the usage of power from certain electrical appliances as her family is in the bakery business allowing them to control the usage of power more consciously.

Another user, V.Varatharaju, from Melaka Baru mentioned he finds using the Smart Meter is more comfortable as it records an accurate reading of his household’s energy consumption and is guaranteed to be safe.

“During the previous MCO period, users who had installed the Smart Meter were not affected by the estimated bill situation, instead, they received the actual bill. This will reassure users of full billing transparency,” Ghous says.

Through the myTNB app, customers can view their daily electricity consumption while the smart meter web portal will provide up to 30-minute interval consumption data. What this means is that customers will be even more in control of their own electricity consumption and ultimately, their energy bills.

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