9 more Telang Usan longhouses connected with power supply under Sares

Chen (yellow shirt) symbolically handing over the solar power system to village headman Johnny Belung Jau of Long Anyat in the presence of Dr Rundi (centre) and other important guests as well as community leaders and the nine village headmen with their certificates of ownership.

MIRI, Aug 19: Nine more longhouses comprising 451 households in Telang Usan now enjoy access to reliable 24-hour renewable electricity supply via the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares) which targets remote villages located at a distance from transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Minister of Utilities Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi pointed out that with Sares, each household is provided with 3,000Wh of renewable electricity daily, catering for a typical rural household’s basic needs that include lighting, fans, a television, a small freezer and rice cooker.

“The system brings much needed convenience to the households and allows cold storage of fish and meat, and minimises the need for frequent travel to town for supplies. Please take care of this precious gift from the government,” he told the residents during a ceremony to hand over the solar systems from project implementer Sarawak Energy at Long Anyat here yesterday (Aug 18).

The handover ceremony also signified the successful completion of local community training to perform simple operation and maintenance work, with Sarawak Energy providing technical support free of charge under government funding.

The nine beneficiary longhouses were Long Anyat, Long Sinung, Long Beku, Long Lilim, Long Daloh, Long Keluan, Long Selatong (Tanjung Tepalit), Long Selatong Dikan and Long Anap.

Rundi congratulated the residents of the longhouses and urged the Village Development and Security Committees (JKKK) and local community leaders to take good care of their newly installed Sares systems.

Sares utilises renewable off-grid solutions to supply electricity to villages that are too distant to be connected to the main electricity grid. It is one of several initiatives under the Rural Electrification Masterplan, driven and funded by the Sarawak government through the Ministry of Utilities with Sarawak Energy as its implementation agent.

Commenting on the Sares initiative, Rundi highlighted that the innovative nature of Sares and the involvement of the communities meant that Sares proved to be a sustainable solution to light up the most remote communities in Sarawak’s hinterland.

“Under the Rural Electrification Master Plan, RM2.37 billion was allocated for 2019-2020 to accelerate rural electrification as envisioned by our Chief Minister allowing us to move forward in our drive to achieve full electrification of Sarawak by 2025.

“Electricity coverage for our rural population went up to 93 per cent in 2019 through various initiatives including the Sares programme that kicked off in 2016.

“As a crucial factor for long term sustainability and success of this scheme, Sarawak Energy’s Sares team trains the beneficiary communities on how to operate and maintain the system and continues to provide technical support after the projects are completed and implemented. Thank you to these nine Telang Usan villages for their cooperation and support,” he commended.

Overall for the Miri division, Sares will have benefited 39 villages in Telang Usan, 11 villages in Beluru and 26 villages in Marudi by 2020, lighting up 3,805 households of about 34,657 residents with 24-hour reliable and renewable electricity supply.—DayakDaily