Dr Rundi to meet SEB on copper thefts at power substations

Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom

KUCHING: Minister of Public Utilities Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said he will meet with senior officials from Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) to resolve rampant cases of copper cable thefts and vandalism at power substations in the State.

“We need to put extra efforts on the security, in term of fencing at the substations, which are the targets of vandalism,” he told reporters last night after breaking fast with staff of his ministry here.

He said he will discuss with SEB as soon as possible because copper cable thefts and vandalism at power substations “are not only increasing, but rampant”.

“SEB needs to improve security at the substations to protect its property, especially transformers, against vandalism,” Rundi said.

He believed that there are demands for copper cables that led to the rampant cases of copper cable thefts in Sarawak.

“The thefts of copper cables could be the work of professional thieves as no ordinary persons can do it without being electrocuted,” he said.

Rundie said SEB has lost millions of ringgit due to copper cable thefts and vandalism over the past few years.

Meanwhile, SEB is seeking assistance from members of the public to immediately call its Customer Care Centre at 1300-88-3111 or make a report through its mobile app “SEB cares” as soon as an outage occurs or when witnessing suspicious looking characters loafing near the electrical facilities.

The speedy action to report will minimise the duration of the outage and in the case of vandalism, could lead to the arrest of the thieves.

The latest case of vandalism happened last Wednesday at Sejingkat Substation where a 1000kVA transformer in the brick wall was ransacked and stripped off its content.

Copper parts of the transformer were stolen incurring a loss of about RM30,000 to replace the badly damaged transformer.

SEB regional manager Choo Min Chong said SEB received a report from a customer only at 11.01am on June 14.

“When our technical team reached the substation at 11.32am, the thieves were long gone.

“If we were informed earlier, we could have caught the thieves red handed,” he said, adding that SEB patrol team managed to replace the transformer and restore supply to the affected customers at 6.40pm on the same day.

He said SEB has increased the patrols and managed to foil a number of attempted vandalism with assistance from the police.

The highest number of vandalism cases on electrical facilities is recorded in Bintulu with 13 cases in the recent two months.

Since 2015, there have been about 430 cases of copper theft targeted at SEB’s electrical facilities have reported, resulting in losses of over RM 5.2million. -dayakdaily.com