This should be of interest to plug-in hybrid owners – Tenaga Nasional has initiated a pilot programme that will charge users for their electricity based on peak and off-peak rates. The TNB SmartSaver Time of Use (TOU) pilot programme, which kicked off in May, will run for six months until October.

Available to customers who have had TNB smart meters installed in their premises before 2017, the programme’s objective is to study the customer behaviour of low voltage ordinary power consumers. During the trial period, customers will be able to enjoy a rebate in monthly bills when they reduce peak hour electricity usage and shift their consumption to mid-peak and off-peak hours.

During the trial period, customers under the pilot programme will continue to receive and pay their normal bills, with a SmartSaver TOU statement provided the following month to inform them of any eligible rebates – any rebates will then be included as an offset in the customer’s next electricity bill.

The TOU SmartSaver has rebates as well as a peak reduction reward for eligible customers, and rebates are computed based on different tariff rates, at different times of the day, with rates off-peak naturally lower than during a mid-peak period, and so on.

If the aggregated costs show a negative value, a customer receives a rebate to this value. If it’s positive, there’s no rebate but no extra charges. As for the peak reduction reward, customers stand to get a RM16 monthly reward if they reduce peak usage usage by at least five percent or mid-peak usage also by at least five percent and refrain from any increase in peak period usage compared to before the pilot programme.

Peak periods are from 11 am-5 pm on weekdays, while mid-peak periods are from 8 am-11 am and 5 pm-10 pm on weekdays. On weekdays, the off-peak period runs from 10 pm-8 am daily, and weekends (as well as public holidays) are defined as off-peak right through.

The timing should be convenient for plug-in hybrid (and EV) users if overnight charging practices are adhered to, and weekends should also prove to be a boon. How much this will translate to in terms of overall savings with a PHEV remains to be seen, of course.

The peak/off-peak rate trials comes at a time when the country’s regulatory body for the electricity supply industry, the Energy Commission (EC), says that Malaysians should brace for a possible imposition of a surcharge, according to a Bernama report. Last week, the EC said that the public needs to be prepared for the inevitable and use electricity prudently.