“We have a critical responsibility to provide reliable, affordable and secure power to the nation,” pledges TNB’s Chief Retail Officer, Datuk Megat Jalaluddin Megat Hassan. “We manage the end-to-end utility value chain, from Grid Generation and Transmission to Distribution and Retail, with subsidiaries focused on ‘Beyond Energy’ solutions such as rooftop solar solutions, energy audits, the digital marketplace for renewable energy certificates and much more.” TNB currently serves 9.5 million customers in Peninsular Malaysia across its commercial, industrial and residential services with 80% of its revenue contributed by B2B customers making up 20% of its customer base.
Prior to taking up his current role as Chief Retail Officer, Megat served as TNB’s Chief Strategic Officer for six years. “We launched a bold company-wide business transformation initiative in 2016,” he recalls. “Reimagining TNB aimed to transform our business to become more than just a utility provider. We studied markets in the US and Europe on how they have evolved to stay relevant with the changing needs of customers. Informed by various case studies, we structured the Reimagining TNB strategy and identified the four main pillars to achieve our vision to be a leading provider of sustainable energy solutions in Malaysia and internationally, namely: Future Generation Sources; Grid of the Future, Winning the Customer and Future Proof Regulations.”
Megat’s team established a separate Retail Division in 2018 to spearhead ‘Winning the Customer’ and focus on delivering customer-centric experiences across all customer channels with ‘Click, Call & Come Over’. “Its mandate also includes developing relevant energy solutions that are Beyond Energy or kWh services that deliver a smart energy lifestyle to customers,” he adds.
“Once we identified our target customers – from large business to SMEs, from micro businesses to residential customers – we started looking at how we could evolve our workforce of 4,600 Retail employees from a functional specialisation organisation to a more customer and solution-focused entity. We worked on building an agile workforce that provides excellent customer experience to achieve our retailer of choice aspirations, supported by our digitalisation efforts in capturing the EBIT.”
Reimagining TNB targeted a 2025 Vision which began in 2016. The company has always maintained that sustainability in the energy sector is important for its future and the nation at large. It is one of the three dilemmas identified by the World Energy Council – Environmental Sustainability of Energy Systems alongside Energy Security and Energy Equity (affordability and access to energy); a so-called ‘Energy Trilemma’.
Reimagining TNB, the company’s long-term corporate transformation strategy, identified three major areas for transformation as an end-to-end utility value chain provider:
• Transition energy generation sources from fossil fuels to renewable energy;
• Digitise the grid to facilitate decentralised power generation, greater use of renewable energy and better energy management amongst customers; and
• Improve customer experience with smart energy solutions and services, which can be optimally delivered through digital channels, whether they are residential, commercial or industrial customers.
TNB is currently expanding its low-carbon generation portfolio via cleaner conventional assets and renewables in line with the country’s Energy Transition Plan 2021-2040 to raise Malaysia’s installed capacity for renewable energy to 40% by 2035. This also translates to a gradual reduction of coal generation as well as customer strategies to encourage sustainable and energy efficient lifestyles supported by smart energy solutions.
TNB continues to improve efficiency at its existing thermal plants, and is increasing its renewable generation portfolio by pledging to cut coal generation by half by 2035. “We are also adding more reliability to our smart grid and have achieved 0.08 system minutes and a system availability of 99.78% in 2020” adds Megat. “Our distribution network has a SAIDI (System Average Interruption Duration Index) rating that is on a par or better than some developed markets at 44.95 min/customer/year. We have also met our 2021 target to install 1.5 million smart meters.”
Since Reimagining TNB was implemented, the company has provided its customers with a suite of smart energy solutions in tune with the current market landscape’s move towards a ‘prosumer’ mindset across all segments. “Prosumers are looking for self-generation of energy from more sustainable options, such as rooftop solar PV solutions, to drive their own environmental sustainability goals,” notes Megat. “Meanwhile, companies looking to offset their carbon footprint in other ways can leverage on our renewable energy supply and trading platform mGATS (Malaysian Green Attribute Tracking System). Managed by our subsidiary, TNBX, the platform provides a transparent way for renewable energy producers to engage corporate buyers, which are looking to achieve their sustainability goals, by securing Renewable Energy Certificates.”
TNB’s recently launched Sustainability Pathway will see the company exploring the potential for collaborations and partnerships to help Malaysia reduce the intensity of its carbon emissions by 45% based on the GDP by 2030. “At TNB we aspire to achieve net zero carbon emissions and be coal-free by 2050,” highlights Megat. “We’re starting by setting realistic goals in terms of scaling up our energy generation mix with improved efficiency of our existing thermal plans and boosting our renewable generation portfolio to 8,300 MW of Renewable Energy by 2025.”
Meeting the COVID challenge
Facing up to a period of global lockdown and uncertainty highlighted the need for TNB to develop a more agile digital infrastructure. “Our existing digital ecosystem based on enterprise platforms is currently robust enough to support the core functions,” explains Megat. “However, it lacks the agility to address the ever-changing customer expectations for personalised services and interactions.”
This prompted TNB to leverage on more agile technologies capable of delivering better customer care in the digital world with a more responsive system for customer management, enabling better analysis of data – via Salesforce Marketing and the Sales Cloud Platform – to make more relevant product or service recommendations to meet the needs of changing energy consumption patterns and payment behaviours during the pandemic.
Allied to this, TNB has adapted to working remotely and becoming more technology-dependent in securing customers. “During the peak of the lockdown last year, 97% of our Retail employees were working from home,” reveals Megat. “Subsequently, we have shifted to a less physical contact economy, with 30-40% of our employees working from home since early 2021. It has become the new normal for us to ensure the safety of our customers and our people.”
Listening to the voice of the customer and providing a delightful customer experience starts for TNB with a simple pledge says Megat: “We must ‘Know Our Customers’. The myTNB app was initially developed with basic functions to enable customers to check their monthly bills and pay via the app, saving them time and money from travelling to physical outlets to make payments. Gradually, we’ve added features to support further transactions and continue to utilise customer feedback to enhance in-app services.” Two key new services are set to be launched for TNB’s customers with smart meters installed: Energy Budget due to launch at the end of this year and Service Disruption Alert which is currently under development.
Meanwhile, through regular promotions via various above- and below-the-line advertising, TNB targets personalised communications, leveraging its meter readers, store-front customer care employees and other digital engagement channels to educate customers on the benefits of the myTNB app. As a digital retailer, TNB is focused on accessibility and convenience for its customers which has seen myTNB’s subscriber base reach 5.3 million domestic users. Plans are also underway to support corporate businesses on the app.
EY UtilityWave Platform
The myTNB app and the microservices it offers are tested in a virtual environment via the EY UtilityWave Platform, a cloud-based platform that supports new services to be developed, tested and iterated with customers. “We use this virtual environment for developing digital prototype solutions,” continues Megat. “The EY UtilityWave platform enables us to incorporate AI & Machine Learning in our smart meter project by helping to identify and resolve issues, such as unplanned power outages, while enabling processes to facilitate data analysis and decision-making. As a result, we can now track energy usage in real time for improved customer satisfaction.”
Investing in talent
The TNB Retail Academy was established to help employees to think and work in an agile way – able to pivot according to the ever-changing needs of TNB’s various customer segments. “Training modules are developed through co-creation with employees,” explains Megat. “By having them involved from the start, co-creation exercises help to build a sense of ownership amongst employees that our Retail transformation journey is a collaborative effort, and not a top-down approach.”
The training modules are a mix of formal and experiential learning through exercises and projects to build employees’ skillsets. This includes skills for roles such as service designers, product owners, data scientists, and front-line workers, with a strong focus on customer experience.
“We’ve also established a Customer Advocacy Group,” adds Megat. “It’s an essential source of invaluable feedback on our next stage of transformation, for the customer journey of services under development. We also promote an innovation mindset amongst our employees. Our ‘Innovation Playbook’ encourages our people to explore beyond their comfort zone in strategising, developing and managing their respective projects. Progress is steady, as we believe it takes time to change people from being in a traditional utility provider mindset to an agile environment, where the only constant is change.”
Winning the future
‘Winning the Customer’ on a long-term transformation journey is the goal for Megat and his team. “We aim to achieve our EBIT target of RM0.7 billion by the end of 2025. The main focus for our initiatives remains enhancing our customers’ experience through improved journeys for service, interaction and communication channels; growth through innovation of sustainable customer solutions; and strengthening our digital presence.”