Malaysia's state utility Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) announced this week that it plans to install 8.5 million residential smart meters within the next 10 years.
TNB's president and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Azman Mohd made the announcement during the opening of a smart grid laboratory at its research arm - Universiti Tenaga Nasional.
The facility, which Mr Azman says is the first of its kind in Malaysia, will allow students and researchers to apply smart grid technologies to pilot programmes.
Smart meter pilot
Azman's comments on the scale of the national smart meter rollout follows hints from TNB in November 2014 that it would consider a national rollout in 2016 if a smart meter pilot was successful.
The pilot, which began two years, involved 1,000 households in two areas of Malaysia.
The stated aim was to reduce energy consumption by engaging Malaysians with energy efficiency as well as improve revenue collection.
TNB has estimated losses of US$1.5 billion due to electricity theft over the past decade.
TNB said it planned to conduct a series of tests related to cellular technology, radio frequency and power line carrier communication (for data transmission) before the system could be successfully implemented.
The results of the pilot are due by the end of this year.
Smart grid research
TNB, Malaysia’s largest utility, has also advanced its smart grid at Universiti Tenaga Nasional by signing a memorandum of understanding with US semiconductor manufacturer EnVerv in May 2014.
The pair are collaborating to develop talent as well as deliver production-worthy designs for IoT, smart city development, solar power and energy management.
EnVerv has been working closely with Universiti Tenaga Nasional over the past four years in conducting field tests in smart grid communications over low voltage and medium voltage power lines in different cities in Malaysia.