Sunday, April 11, 2010

Green initiatives part of DiGi business strategy

Thestar: Saturday April 10, 2010

PETALING JAYA: DiGi.Com Bhd is now practically synonymous with green initiatives.
This is hardly surprising, considering it has pumped in more than RM40mil in “green investments” since 2008 and plans to invest RM60mil more over the next few years.
“We’d like to think that we are among the largest ‘green investors’ in the country,” outgoing chief executive officer Johan Dennelind said in an interview with StarBizWeek.
Johan Dennelind ... ‘We are prepared to invest up to R M100mil.’
He said DiGi, the third largest mobile operator in the country, had its “wake-up call” in 2008 when it received an industry report which stated that the information and communications technology sector would basically grow emissions at double the pace of the aviation industry, commonly perceived to be a large carbon emitter itself – in two years.
“We said to ourselves, let’s use this as a wake-up call and take that message to our shareholders – so, that’s how it all started and this has become part of our business strategy now.
“We saw ourselves being a big culprit because in 2007, 2008, we were emitting something like 100,000 tonnes of carbon, and we thought to ourselves, if we didn’t do anything, it could very well increase by up to 70% in four to five years’ time and that was not acceptable,” said Dennelind.
There are only a few things people can do as individuals, according to him.
“We started out basically just trying to raise the awareness among employees at DiGi. We spent quite a lot of time trying to educate the employees – things like car pooling were encouraged.
“At DiGi, polystyrene is not used at the cafeteria while garbage bins have also been banned in the office,” Dennelind said.
Instead, DiGi’s sprawling campus-like headquarters in Shah Alam has waste separation areas, where employees have to “arrange” their waste which is then sent for recycling.
To cut down on the use of paper, DiGi asks its employees to log in or provide some form of identification before using paper, to track how much is being used by each employee.
“After all these (efforts), we looked at what we could do as a company to reduce our (carbon) footprint,” Dennelind said.
As part of its efforts to counter the problem, in 2008 DiGi launched its Deep Green Programme, which not only seeks to address energy efficiency within the company’s business, but also with related stakeholders.
Dennelind said DiGi’s goal was to slash its carbon emissions by 50% by 2012.
“Can we reach 50% in two years? Yes. Are we certain? No. Then again, the important thing really is not the number itself, it’s the initiatives and how we engage ourselves around them,” he said.
Does doing its part for Mother Nature help bring down the cost of doing business?
“To some extent it does because you save energy and hence reduce some cost but you also have to invest in the initiatives. We said that we were prepared to invest up to RM100mil and we have invested close to RM40mil since 2008 in green investments to enable us to achieve the 50% reduction,” said Dennelind.
Among the company’s green initiatives, DiGi recently organised the Challenge for Change competition which saw teams from eight local universities participating in a six-month programme to develop energy solutions.
It has also helped fund the micro-hydro system which uses “green technology” in the remote village of Kampung Lumpagas at the border of Sabah and Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Estimated to cost around RM160,000 and expected to be ready by mid-year, the micro-hydro system will generate up to 3kW of electricity for basic lighting.
The system is expected to gradually phase out the use of firewood, kerosene and diesel- and petrol-run generators – all culprits of global warming.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Foreign interest may return with clarity in tariff structure, says Tenaga

Written by The Edge Financial Daily   
Tuesday, 30 March 2010 23:54

 KUALA LUMPUR: TENAGA NASIONAL BHD [] believes that foreign interest "may come back" to the company once clarity is seen in terms of government policy on tariff structure.

Its CEO Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohd Nor said foreign interest in Tenaga peaked at 28% but was now down to about 9%, with many investors exiting due to the lack of clarity in power tariff policy.

"The announcement by the prime minister on the New Economic Model (NEM) that the subsidies will eventually be removed is a positive sign at providing more clarity to our industry," he told reporters on the sidelines of Invest Malaysia 2010 on Tuesday, March 30.
Che Khalib said once there was clarity in relation to subsidy and tariff pass-through formula, Tenaga should be able to attract foreign interest.

"The more transparent tariff pass-through formula and removal of subsidies have to come together, as people may question who will bear the cost once the subsidies are removed," he said.

"Once the removal of the subsidy happens, the pass-through formula must be in place, if not, the industry players will have to absorb it," he added.

Che Khalib was quick to add that Tenaga "is not in a position" to absorb the cost that would come with the removal of the subsidy.

He said he did not know when the pass-through formula would be adopted or when the government would announce a tariff review.

Nonetheless, he said the gas price in Malaysia was below the market price and would remain so even with a 10%-20% increase in tariffs. "It is still going to be below the market price. We eventually have to raise the gas price to the market price, which cannot be done overnight," he said.

Che Khalib said the tariffs would have to reflect the increase in gas price, which may be raised gradually, perhaps over a period of more than five years.

Meanwhile, Reuters cited Che Khalib as saying the utility giant would report a better profit in its second quarter ended Feb 28, 2010, after electricity demand bounced back strongly from a year ago.

Tenaga saw a 13.8% increase in power demand in the second quarter from a contraction of 7.6% in the same period a year earlier.

"Due to this, we think that we are going to far exceed our initial estimate of 3% demand growth for the full year," Che Khalib told Reuters in an interview at the Invest Malaysia conference.

"My guess is that it (growth) could be 6%-7% for the full year," he said.