MELAKA, July 3 — Smart meters are electric-powered meters that allow consumers to observe and monitor their electric usage on a daily and monthly basis online.
Introduced by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), smart meters also encourage consumers to regulate their electricity consumption via accessing their smart meters online through the myTNB application.
Unlike the analog meters that require a TNB meter reader to come to houses to determine the electricity usage on a monthly basis, smart meters allow consumers to track their own electrical consumption at home online.
About 290,000 smart meters have been installed in Melaka since 2016 for free and a million more would be installed in Klang Valley by 2022.
Clinic attendant Parasuraman Balakrishnan, 45, said that one of the perks of having the smart meter installed is that he is able to track his electricity consumption on a daily basis.
“I am now able to monitor the appliances in my house that consume more electricity such as the air-conditioner.
“Even before the smart meter was introduced, I was spending about RM20 for my electricity bill.
“During the movement control order (MCO) period, my electricity bill has been the same till now as I divide my time in the week between Alor Gajah and Melaka to visit my mother.”
Parasuraman said that another reason he has been having low electricity bills consistently is because he switches off his air-conditioner when the room is cool enough and uses energy-saving LED lights.
“With the instalment of the smart meter, one is able to see which appliances are consuming the most electricity at home and is able to control the usage.”
For insurance agent Ong Hong Chuan, 60, he noticed that his electricity bill had increased by almost 50 per cent during the MCO especially in April and May.
“Electricity bills were higher during those two months especially in April as my family and I were mostly at home.
“But I’m willing to pay the cost as it is in accordance with my electricity consumption at home after checking my electricity usage through the smart meter in myTNB application.”
Ong, however, said that for June, his electricity bill returned to the normal amount which was below RM100.
“For me personally, the smart meter has helped me monitor the usage of my electrical appliances and I have no qualms about the efficiency of the smart meter.”
Retired teacher Abdul Rasid Bakar, 60, also said that his electricity bill has increased because of the frequent air conditioner usage at home especially during the MCO and the Hari Raya festivities.
“Even when performing my prayers, I would turn on the air conditioner. I also prefer ironing my own clothes so these appliances consume a lot of electricity.
“However, with the smart meter, I am able to keep aside a budget by the end of the month by knowing how much electricity consumption I’ve used by mid-month.”
He hopes that there would be more education on the usage of smart meters from TNB as many of his friends were still unaware of its importance.
“Some of my friends don’t even know that they have to download the myTNB application to view their current electricity usage.
“As such, I hope that there would be more TNB representatives who would organise short sessions with residents to teach consumers about the smart meter and its benefits.”
While most residents recorded an increase in their electricity bills during MCO, former banker Azman Hamid, 54, said that he was surprised to see a reduction in his electricity bill.
“Usually my electricity bills before the MCO would be around RM220 but since March, my electricity bills have been below RM200.
“And that’s surprising considering that my children came back home just before the MCO and that also means more electricity consumption.”
However, one trait that Azman has always taught his children since young was to always conserve energy at home as much as possible.
“For instance, I tell them to switch off the air-conditioner once the room is cold enough or even to switch off appliances when not in use.
“Although I am surprised that my electricity bill has reduced since the MCO, I think the main reason for this is my efficient use of electrical appliances at home.”
On the benefits of the smart meter, Azman said that since the smart meter was introduced in 2016, his electricity bill has reduced as he has been monitoring his electricity consumption at home using the myTNB application.