MODERNISING THE GRID


By D. RAJRJ DEVAN

TNB personnel manning the Meter Data Intelligence Centre (MDIC).

WHAT do you do when you get to be the best in the region? You strive to get better and take on the world.

And that is what Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) is doing.

Starting out small more than 70 years ago, it has seen its System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) improve over the years from 150 minutes in 2002 to 44.95 minutes last year to be the best in the region and comparable to some developed countries in the world.

SAIDI is a reliability indicator by energy companies measuring the average outage duration for each customer. It is measured in units of time, so the lower the score, the better.

In terms of electricity supply quality in Peninsular Malaysia, TNB has achieved a ranking equal to developed countries like Denmark, France and the United Kingdom while keeping tariffs rate lower for Malaysians.

The national electricity supplier is not about to rest on its laurels; TNB plans to improve with the aim to be among the best in the world.

Enter TNB’s distribution modernisation programme, a long-term project designed to give customers more – more reliability of supply, more control and empowerment, ability to connect with the grid to tap solar energy and to become more sustainable and green.

Wan Nazmy Wan Mahmood is the man who will be leading the distribution modernisation programme.

Wan Nazmy, after all, is a man who has seen it all. He’s from Kuala Krai, a small town in Kelantan where, he says, electricity supply was a luxury in the 1970s and early 80s.

“There were few places with 24-hour supply. In many places it was for 12 hours and as you went further from town, there was no supply.”

After graduating, the TNB scholar joined the energy company as an engineer in Kuala Terengganu before moving to Kemaman. It was there that he oversaw an electricity boom as Kemaman became the oil and gas centre of the country, which needed a lot of power.

Wan Nazmy says TNB is implementing features such as LED street lighting, smart meters, smart grid, energy storage and electric vehicle electrification infrastructure.Wan Nazmy says TNB is implementing features such as LED street lighting, smart meters, smart grid, energy storage and electric vehicle electrification infrastructure.

The housing and townships that grew around the oil industry also increased the demand for electricity.

Wan Nazmy grew in tandem with TNB. Today, he is Chief Distribution Network Officer heading one of the key divisions preparing the company, the customers and the public for the energy of the future.

TNB has the future mapped out. Wan Nazmy lists out several main features of electricity supply that TNB is implementing – smart meters, LED street lighting, smart grid, energy storage and electric vehicle electrification infrastructure.

Smart meters which give users control over their energy usage are already being installed in Melaka and certain areas in the Klang Valley.

“They will allow users to know how much power they use, they can even check using their handphones with the myTNB app to see which appliances are using too much electricity, ” said Wan Nazmy.

Street lighting using LEDs is also being installed now. Some 400,000 street lights, or 25% of the total 1.7 million street lamps in the country, now use LEDs that not only last longer but also help local councils make huge savings.

And that is only the tip of the iceberg. TNB will be facilitating the setting up of EV electrification infrastructure around the country, anticipating a future where electric vehicles will be more common.

And with the sunny country’s new target of having 31% green energy by 2025, solar power will be shining glory.

Towards this end, the smart grid is an essential component of modernisation to ensure that excess solar energy generated by customers or self-generation can be received and supplied, and sold to other power users.

The old days of long breakdowns and outages will soon be just a memory as the latest technology and digitalisation can now ensure that any such problems are resolved quickly.

Distribution automation now helps in faster restoration of supply. In Johor Baru, for example, restoration of power can be done with just a click of the mouse by a system controller.

And guess what, the system controller will be sitting in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.

TNB’s mobility solutions will not only be able to pinpoint problems, they can also quickly detect the nearest repair team, which will be on standby in many parts of the country to attend to any breakdown reported by customers.

And it’s not just about getting the lights back on quickly; it’s also about keeping the customers informed. A GPS system will know where the repair teams are and allow TNB to let the customer know the team’s estimated time of arrival.

These are some of the initiatives, creating both jobs and investment opportunities.

Brighter days are ahead. Indeed, we have come a long, long way from the days of power-less homes in Kuala Krai.

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Tenaga Nasional Berhad , TNB

   

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