DATE OF RELEASE: 5 OCTOBER 2020
PRESS RELEASE: SMART METER CONSUMERS RAISING CONCERN ABOUT THE DEVICE AND THE INSTALLATION PROCEDURE OF CHANGING
Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA) and its affiliate the Water and Energy Consumers Associations of Malaysia (WECAM) has been receiving numerous enquiries and complaints on the new Smart Meter which have been installed by the National Electricity provider. Many consumers have been raising their concern on sudden sharp increase in their electricity bills and also the procedures on how to change and how it will impact them.
Currently, the utility provider is in the midst of changing the old meter to SMART meter. It is a usual program that this utility provider replaces aged meter which is beyond accuracy lifespan. There are two type of meters with different accuracy life span: - Electromechanical meter life span is 15 years while Electronic meter is 10 years. The main objective is to ensure accurate meter reading and billing.
The main possible reason for the spike in the electricity bill could be due to the aged meter used earlier which was not recording accurately due to, Faulty meter, Degradation of the mechanical components in the meter or Tampered meter. The replacement of aged meter is a utility prudent practice and it is in accordance to the Electricity Supply Act 1990 (for accurate billing).
SMART METER installation has been rolled out across Melaka and Klang Valley where a total of 1.5 million meters installed. The installation is free of charge but there will be a supply interruption at the customer’s premise for approximately 15 minutes to an hour. The meter will be replaced by contractors who are appointed by the Electricity Provider Company and will be fully supervised by their personnel.
Replacement of the meter will be conducted during normal working days and also on weekends (via appointment). Customers will be notified through written notices at least 48 hours before the meter replacement is done. Consumers are also advised to call the Utility Providers general phone line to check and confirm the authorised contractors as to avoid scams and robbery.
SMART METER consumers especially residents in Melaka, reaped the benefits of the smart meter during the Movement Control Order (MCO) as they received their bills monthly without the need of an estimated and prorate bills due to the absence of meter readers.
However, FOMCA has also been receiving complaints on an increase in electricity bill after the installation of SMART METER. This problem is mainly due to the fact that the SMART METER is very accurate and the old analogue meters tend to run slower over time resulting in lower electricity usage reading. An increase up to 5% to 10% in electrical tariff is acceptable and reasonable due to the reason mentioned.
However, anything more than that should be reported to the utility provider for inspection. Many Smart Meter consumers also shared that their electricity bill has reduced as well and some consumers have reduced their consumption because they have access to their electricity usage every 30 minutes. They were able to change their behaviour towards energy efficiency and also identified appliances which used lots of electricity.
Nevertheless due to the many complaints from consumers, Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (FOMCA) engaged SIRIM Malaysia and Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commissions (MCMC) to get a second opinion. SIRIM tests the integrity as well as the accuracy of the meter while MCMC tests whether the radio frequency emitted by the meter is safe.
Both authorities shoulder the responsibilities to ensure that the SMART METER is very accurate and safe to be used at consumer’s residence. All meters installed meet the Energy Commission Metering Guideline.
Meters are calibrated and accredited under Skim Akreditasi Makmal Malaysia (SAMM) based on MS ISO/IEC 17025:2005 issued by Standards Malaysia under the purview of Ministry Of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI). The meters are also calibrated and complied with International Standards (MS IEC 62053-11, MS IEC 62053-21, MS IEC 62053-22, MS IEC 62053-23).The meters also complied to the International Standard OIML (e.g. Harmonics Test and Reliability Test).
However, as important as electricity is, energy efficiency is equally important and this is where the SMART METER proves its’ worthiness. SMART METER is an upgrade to the regular analogue or digital meter that we have at home as it allows user to take charge and monitor their daily energy usage in a very detailed manner. SMART METER allows consumers to check their energy usage every half an hour thus allowing consumers to learn about their energy usage pattern enabling consumers to take relevant steps to reduce consumption.
It also eliminates the need for estimated bill since consumers can get their bills directly from the Electricity Utility Providers web portal and smartphone app at the end of the billing cycle month.
SMART METER also serves as a gateway or a stepping stone for future purposes like the Smart Home as well as the possibility of switching to a different electricity provider in the future. This further enforced the fact that the SMART METER technology is our way forward and many other developed countries have been using SMART METER decades ago.
FOMCA would advise consumers who are not satisfied with their electricity bills to forward their complaints to their respective electricity provider. Consumers also can request technicians from the utility provider to check the meter in their premises and ensure the efficiency of the meter is at the recommended values.
If your complaints were not handled mannerly by the utility provider, consumers also can submit a complaint to the Energy Commission via their website www.st.gov.my. Alternatively, consumers also may file a complaint to FOMCA’s complaint handling unit which is the National Consumers Complaints Centre (NCCC) via our website (www.nccc.org.my).
Chief Operation Officer (FOMCA)