470 rural households in Mukah to gain access to 24/7 electricity this year

The Rural Electrification Scheme (RES) extends grid lines into the interior by constructing electrical distribution poles and supply lines.

KUCHING, April 7: Some 470 households from 13 longhouses in Dalat, Matu and Daro districts will be connected to the State’s electricity grid under Phase 2 of Rural Electrification Scheme (RES) Last Miles initiative by this year, giving them access to reliable and renewable energy 24 hours a day.

Sarawak Energy Berhad (Sarawak Energy), in a media release today, also revealed that 11 villages with about 358 more households in Ulu Dalat and Matu shall be connected to the grid by 2022 under Phase 3 which will bring the rural electrification coverage in Mukah division to 100 per cent.

Under Phase 1 of the RES Last Miles initiative in Mukah division between 2018 and 2020, about 340 rural households from 21 villages in the Mukah, Balingian and Tanjung Manis districts have been lighted up.

Minister for Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom emphasised that the Sarawak government through Sarawak Energy is accelerating the delivery of rural electrification projects to ensure the provision of reliable and affordable electricity supply for the whole of Sarawak by 2025.

“More than 150,000 rural households in Sarawak have been lighted up under a suite of rural electrification strategies since 2009, and since then rural electrification in Sarawak has risen to 95 per cent in 2020 compared to just 56 per cent in 2009 and is expected to go up to 97 per cent in the coming months,” he said.

Dr Rundi also assured the public that his ministry, working closely with Sarawak Energy, remained committed to ensuring that rural Sarawak will have access to reliable and affordable electricity round the clock.

“We have an effective strategy and an efficient delivery mechanism to extend the existing Sarawak grid into the interior and for Sarawak’s most remote communities, we have the standalone off-grid solutions,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Energy Group chief executive officer (CEO) Datu Sharbini Suhaili pointed out that the usual challenges of rural electrification, which include logistics due to area remoteness, wayleave issues and acceptance from villagers have been compounded by the global Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions brought about by the Movement Control Order (MCO).

“However, we are committed to deliver these rural electrification projects under full compliance with the relevant Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and stringent in-house Covid-19 precautionary measures,” he assured.

The RES Last Miles initiative, under the Accelerated Rural Electrification Masterplan, is part of the Sarawak government’s Projek Rakyat and extends grid lines into the interior by constructing electrical distribution poles and supply lines.

Rural Power Supply Scheme (RPSS) will supplement RES by introducing new transmission, distribution lines and substations at strategic rural locations to enable RES to be extended to more remote areas.

Aside from RES and RPSS, the rural electrification initiatives in Sarawak also include setting up localised micro-grids with hybrid systems for larger communities distant from the main grid and smaller standalone micro-hydro or solar-powered systems for the most remote areas through the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares). — DayakDaily