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Empowering Communities: Malaysia Energy Literacy Program (MELP) Promotes Energy Awareness

In the pursuit of a future fueled by clean energy, a collaborative endeavour among stakeholders ranging from policymakers, industry titans, innovators and consumers is vital to ensure a smooth transition. As we strive to make sustainable considerations a new normal, we need to ensure that a comprehensive understanding of the energy system permeates all levels of society, emphasising the need for education on the topic.

The term ‘energy literacy’ encompasses having knowledge of the nature and role of energy in the world, which can then be translated into informed decision-making and responsible action when it comes to managing one’s daily energy usage. It involves the awareness of how energy works from its generation, the various sources, consumption patterns, environmental impacts and most importantly our part within these intricate systems.

Malaysia, like most countries around the world, has identified a gap to bridge in the practice and understanding of energy literacy among its citizens. In March 2023, the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Ministry (NRECC) along with Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), launched the Malaysia Energy Literacy Program (MELP) in hopes of cultivating a generation of energy-sensitive society that contributes to the sustainability of the country’s energy industry. The programme was rolled out in collaboration with its partners, referenced as MELP Champions or #teamenergy, which includes Malaysia’s Energy Commission (EC) and the Sustainable Energy Development Authority Malaysia (SEDA).

For TNB, which has been running the programme independently since 2020, the key focus is on amplifying its effort to the larger community as a way to solidify the country’s footing in its energy transition journey. The national initiative was launched with a Gallery Walk exhibition at Dewan Baiduri, Wisma Sumber Asli by the NRECC Minister, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, who highlighted the programme as a systematic push to promote sustainability at all levels of the energy supply ecosystem, from the utilities all the way to the end consumer, be it commercial or residential users.

“We need to be a society that is aware, literate and knowledgeable about energy and its consumption. Energy is for everyone (#TenagaMilikSemua) and it is our responsibility to safeguard its source so that energy truly belongs to everyone,” – Nik Nazmi, Minister of the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate.

Bridging the gap between institutions

Enhancing the nation’s energy literacy level necessitates a collective solution, to breakthrough the gap in societal understanding on the industry, hindering the potential of having a well-informed and effective energy community.

With collaboration as its driving strategy, the MELP has stakeholders across industries working together to catalyse impactful changes towards forward-looking sustainability. The orchestrated roles and responsibilities among its partners allow the programme to pool wider resources, gain a diverse perspective and amplify the reach of its initiatives, enhancing its effectiveness. The extensive list of partners includes government agencies, industry players, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), educational bodies and the media – each playing a different role to deliver on the programme’s  four focus areas:

  • Energy 101 (basic foundation)

E.g: Energy value chain, Incentive Based Regulation (IBR) framework

  • Consumer literacy

E.g: Imbalance Cost Pass Through (ICPT), energy efficiency, safety, bills, smart meters, myTNB, smart solutions

  • Energy of the future

E.g: Sustainability and energy transition, telecommunications and electric vehicles (EV)

  • Advanced energy topics

E.g: Innovation and technology, smart grid

The combined effort previously spearheaded by TNB has brought various initiatives to life in 2022, comprising forums and seminars, briefings and knowledge-sharing sessions with regulators, policymakers, industry players and media, as well as educational campaigns and exhibitions with educational bodies and general consumers.

The success of its  SDG7 Affordable & Clean Energy A Journey Towards Energy Transition Seminar (SDG7 Seminar 2022), organised by TNB, in collaboration with the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) under the Prime Minister’s Department last August 2022 demonstrates the impact of the programme. The seminar saw attendance from government bodies, energy companies as well as the general public participating in conversations on the urgency of progressing towards the nation’s 2050 net-zero targets, emphasising the need for cross-sharing and collaboration among industry influencers.

From incentives and policy setting to realising clean energy investment, strong collaboration between the government and industry players is vital in framing the right environment that encourages an energy-sensitive society. Meanwhile, advocacy from the larger public is just as important to amplify the movement and ensure the right choices are made towards a more sustainable and responsible energy system.

Charging forward: energy education in motion

Dedicated to making a long-lasting impact that transforms Malaysians into well-informed energy citizens, the MELP movement is driven by clear intended outcomes which include regulators being able to make informed decisions on energy-related policies, seeing a growing investment in the energy system from public and private industries alike, garnering energy-positive attitudes that will ultimately lead to greater support from the rakyat and key stakeholders towards the energy.

With these outcomes in mind, the MELP advances its collaborative approach into 2023 with an array of initiatives planned. This includes power-up and knowledge-sharing sessions with government bodies and regulators, various campaigns, and programs with the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (FOMCA), Muslim Consumer Association of Malaysia (PPIM) and other organisations and key influencers. Together with the educational ministry, the program seeks to encourage energy efficient awareness campaigns and introduce energy modules with select universities such as Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

MELP in shaping the societal mindset

Achieving a successful energy transition demands action from every member of society, with thorough assessment of one’s carbon footprint in every action taken. Despite this, there remains significant potential for Malaysia to enhance our efforts towards achieving the nation’s green agenda, and the MELP is well-positioned to play a critical role in turning the net-zero vision into a reality.

Energy literacy is indispensable for our future. Educating ourselves on the energy systems and their impact goes a long way, allowing us to make better decisions and live sustainably, promising a brighter future for our planet.

Explore more about the MELP through its official video here:

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