Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) does not rule out acquiring power stations overseas or supplying power to neighbouring countries, according to chairman Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin.
“We are currently in the exploratory stage,” Awang Adek said, adding that demand for power supply overseas would increase in the coming years with economic expansion.
He was speaking after a ceremony appointing PNB Cable Group as one of three consortia supplying cables to TNB, as well as to mark the handing over of cabling works by Federal Cable Sdn Bhd, the leader of the group.
Awang Adek said as demand for power in certain countries would increase at a much faster rate than others, they might experience power supply constraints, especially if there had been no proper planning for power needs.
Malaysia faced a similar situation in the early 90s when power demand surged dramatically. This was overcome with the setting up of several independent power producers.
TNB could play a role in such an eventuality, Awang Adek said, adding that TNB was now exploring opportunities to sell excess capacity to neighbouring countries.
He did not identify the countries but recent reports said TNB was interested in connecting its grid with Thailand's.
Meanwhile, TNB is giving the remaining two cable supply consortia until the end of this year to finalise among their members the supply of cables to the company.
TNB had decided in January this year to source its cables from only three consortia, which would be given equal shares of the utility company's requirements, valued at RM600mil annually.
“We are doing this so that they can consolidate and become stronger groups, and possibly venture overseas,” Awang Adek said, adding that 14 local suppliers were dependent on TNB for their survival.
He added that the consortia arrangement would prevent smaller cable producers from being closed down as TNB reduced its cable needs over the years, from a peak of RM800mil worth a year to RM600mil. The arrangement would also prevent undercutting among cable suppliers.
So far, only one consortium, PNB Cable Group – comprising Permodalan Nasional Bhd's (PNB) 50.5% unit Federal Cable Sdn Bhd, Furukawa Electric Cables (M) Sdn Bhd and Central Cables Bhd – has emerged.
The other two consortia – one to be led by TNB cable unit Tenaga Cable Industries Sdn Bhd, and the other by Leader Universal (M) Bhd – have yet to finalise arrangements with their respective members.