Malaysia’s Total Lockdown: Operation of Electricity Supply Sector and Renewable Energy Developments

Malaysia’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (‘KETSA’) has issued an official statement1 (‘KETSA Statement’) with respect to, among others, the operation of the electricity supply sector and renewable energy developments during the nationwide total lockdown which is in effect from 1 to 14 June 2021 (referred as the Full Movement Control or ‘FMCO’).
This Alert focuses on the key points in the KETSA Statement in relation to these sectors.
During the FMCO, activities that are necessary to ensure continuous electricity supply are allowed to be carried out. Such activities consist of the following:
  1. Restoration of supply and repairs and operation of electricity supply systems.

  2. Implementation of projects for system consolidation and critical maintenance of electricity supply systems, to be determined by Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Sabah Electricity Sdn. Bhd.

  3. Consumer services, which comprise:
  • Meter reading and delivery of bills to premises. For areas placed under an enhanced Movement Control Order, this will be subject to approval by the relevant local authority.

  • Operation of ‘Kedai Tenaga2 in Peninsular Malaysia, with operating hours limited to 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. However, services that are also available on an online platform are to be carried out online.

  • New electricity supply connections and critical meter installations, to be determined by TNB and SESB. As an illustration, this applies to health facilities, vaccine centres and the like.

KETSA’s position is that work relating to the development of renewable energy projects under the Large Scale Solar (LSS) Programme, Net Energy Metering (NEM) Programme, and Feed-In Tariff (FiT) Programme are not allowed during the FMCO. However, an exception is granted for existing renewable energy projects that are required to be operated in order to ensure public safety as well as on-site safety.
For power plants already in operations and connected to the grid, which includes mini hydro, solar, biomass and biogas plants, only daily operational works may be carried out. It is encouraged for the workforce capacity to not exceed 30% and the maximum workforce capacity allowed is 50%. The percentage of management level personnel should not exceed 10%.
Companies that have not obtained official approval from KETSA to operate during the FMCO will have to apply for permission to operate by way of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s Covid-19 Intelligent Management System (CIMS).
The KETSA Statement serves to clarify the type of works that may be carried out in relation to the electricity supply sector and renewable energy projects. It provides a certain amount of reassurance to consumers as electricity supply should not be affected by the FMCO. However, for stakeholders in renewable energy developments, this is unfortunate news which will likely have an impact on the progress and cost of ongoing construction works for such projects.
Alert by Rachel Chiah (Senior Associate) of the Construction & Engineering Practice of Skrine.

1 The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources’ official statement is available here, in the Malay language.
2 ‘Kedai Tenaga’ are TNB’s customer service centres.