More heatwave alerts issued


Shoppers is seen using the portable handheld fan during hot weather and during shopping for upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman on March 24.-AZMAN GHANIThe Star

PETALING JAYA: Amid the ongoing drought, several areas have been issued a Level 2 heatwave alert for a consecutive period of three days, even as electricity bills are spiking.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) said the Level 2 heatwave would affect the whole of Perlis along with parts of Hulu Perak and Beaufort, Sabah, from yesterday.

The Level 2 heatwave occurs when the daily maximum temperature is expected to be between 37°C and 40°C.

Earlier, it said that Kubang Pasu, Padang Terap, Pokok Sena, Sik, Baling and Kota Setar in Kedah were issued with a Level 2 heatwave warning.

A total of 33 areas in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak were issued with a Level 1 heatwave warning with the maximum temperature expected to be between 35°C and 37°C during the same period.

Should the daily temperature exceed 40°C, a Level 3 heatwave warning will be issued.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan has since called for all outdoor activities in schools to be suspended at areas hit by the Level 1 heatwave warning.

Meanwhile, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) said the rising temperature is expected to drive up electricity usage across the country, which had already seen a more than 10% increase in some areas from January to February.

“Areas with the highest rise in energy consumption were in the northern states and certain areas in Peninsular Malaysia, with peak usage reaching 19,200 megawatts (MW) on March 7.

“Domestic customers were likely using more electricity to cool down during the start of the Level 1 heatwave following the weather alert issued in February by MetMalaysia.

“The ongoing El Nino conditions forecast by MetMalaysia until mid-2024 may further elevate electricity usage as the public seeks relief from the hot weather, potentially increasing the risk of power surges,” TNB said when contacted yesterday.

The national energy company said that overall, nationwide electricity consumption had gone up by around 4%, equivalent to 350 gigawatt hours (GWh) from January to February.

(This additional power usage would be enough to cover the electricity usage of up to 73,545 people for an entire year in 2021, according to economic data from the Energy Commission.)

TNB assured the public that it would take decisive steps to anticipate and address potential surges in electricity demand.

“Leveraging advanced techniques such as condition-based maintenance, we have optimised the performance of our electrical assets, minimising downtime and maximising operational efficiency.

“TNB also actively supports the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid, bolstering its capacity and enhancing grid network resilience,” it said.

TNB also advised consumers to adopt energy efficiency practices to reduce their electricity costs during the dry spell by looking out for tips on the company’s portal and social media platforms.

“Customers can also opt for energy-efficient appliances with four- or five-star labels, as recommended by the Energy Commission, as these appliances utilise energy efficiency-optimising technology that provides long-term benefits to consumers,” it added.

The current El Nino phenomenon began in the middle of last year and can last up to 18 months, according to MetMalaysia.

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