Malaysia’s power sector which has been grappling with inconsistent gas supply in the first half of the year, is expected to see brighter days, now that issues are steadily being resolved.
Energy Commission chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Fauzi Hasan said the country’s electricity demand is expected to sizzle, with annual growth ranging between three and four per cent until 2020.
“Although the sector has been grappling with constraints in gas supply, it has been managing supply to the power and non-power industries quite well.
“Despite the unplanned power interruptions, the power sector is coping well and I expect things to get better by September this year,” Ahmad Fauzi said in an interview here recently.
Malaysia’s gas supply has been inconsistent for the past three years due to numerous factors such as unpredictable shutdowns at Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas)’s offshore platforms and other gas sources.
As a result, gas supply was limited and had to be distributed between the power and non-power sectors.
Supply interruptions were particularly bad last year and more so last month.
This not only affected electricity and gas supply but also caused costs to surge.
All gas-fired plants including Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) were running on the more expensive oil and distillates, prompting the sharing of cost between TNB, government and Petronas.
Gas supply, however, is expected to improve once the Petronas regasification complex in Malacca comes on stream by September and planned shutdowns and regular maintenance works are carried out.
Gas-fired plants make up 53 per cent of power plants in the country, followed by coal (40 per cent) and hydro (5 per cent).
“We at the commission are working closely with the sector to mitigate the impact of limited electricity and gas supply to the power and non power-sectors, and compile daily reports by the industry on the gas situation with all parties, including independent power producers,” he said.
On another note, Ahmad Fauzi said the sector is gradually moving towards relying less on gas subsidies because by 2015, the price of gas will be determined by market forces.
“The government is serious in making the industry more efficient and vibrant in 2020 so that the price reflects the cost of supply. We are looking at transforming the industry into a more resilient and strong one,” Ahmad Fauzi added.