16 NOVEMBER 2020
Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) is expanding the use of smart meters in more premises nationwide. The new connected meters will provide a more efficient and accurate power consumption reading, while allowing users to better monitor their usage.
TNB has successfully installed 340,000 smart meters in Melaka and they targeting to install 1.2 million units for residential and commercial premises in the Klang Valley. The power utility company also aims to expand the smart meter usage to cover 9 million premises by 2021.
What is a Smart Meter?
Unlike traditional meters which requires manual reading by a TNB personnel, power consumption measurements on a smart meter can be done remotely. Users with the smart meter can view energy usage updates in 30-minute intervals from the myTNB portal or via the myTNB app. The smart meter itself won’t reduce power consumption, but it will help users to better track and manage their energy use.
Since the meters are connected, it could reduce the need for manual reading and it also improves TNB’s power outage detection.
How does it work?
The smart meters use Radio Frequency (RF) at 2.4GHz, which is a similar frequency as Bluetooth and WiFi. According to TNB, the meters are safe and they are approved by both SIRIM and the MCMC.
To enable smart meter reading, TNB will erect RF pillars around your area. TNB states that the RF power transmitted is considered low at 0.1 Microwatts per square cm from 10 feet away, which is lower than a conventional microwave oven that emits 1000 Microwatts per square cm at 2″ from the door.
They added there are additional security measures such as data encryption, authentication and password protection in the smart meter system and network. TNB assures that the new meters can’t be used for spying purposes as it only records the energy usage and meter readings in half-hourly intervals.
According to TNB’s FAQ, if there’s an increase in billing, this could be due to inaccuracy of the old meter and there’s a change in consumption pattern. TNB says it will conduct an accuracy test on the old meter before it is replaced with the new smart meter.
How soon can you get it?
The smart meter installation is being done in stages and the installation is done free of charge. Installation will take approximately 30 to 60 minutes and all appliances must be switched off temporarily. Unfortunately, there’s no deployment schedule at the moment.
If you’re area is selected, TNB will inform customers about the meter replacement up to 30 days in advance. The utility company will also conduct public engagement programs to help consumers better understand the benefits of smart meter.
For further reading, you can check out TNB’s smart meter page and its FAQ.