Four Sebauh longhouses celebrate Sares success

Dr Rundi (centre) witnessing the handing over of the solar power system from Chen (third right) to Tuai Rumah Nompang.

BINTULU, Aug 22: Four villages with 102 households in Sebauh are now able to enjoy reliable off-grid electricity supply following the successful installation and completion of the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares) systems.

Minister for Utilities Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi emphasised that Sares is making a big difference to the lives of the people here and in many other remote communities of Sarawak.

“This is a gift from the government of Sarawak to our rural folk who don’t have the same access to utilities that town people have.

“Each household is provided with 3000Wh of renewable electricity daily, enough to power basic needs such as lighting, television and refrigerator. There is less need for frequent travel to town to buy provisions as well as diesel for their former generator sets, providing convenience and ease,” he said during a handover ceremony held at Rumah Patrick Andin here today.

Sarawak Energy handed over the solar systems to Rumah Nompang, Rumah Lawai, Rumah Elwin Ugan and Rumah Palos which have 610 residents from the 102 households.

Dr Rundi congratulated the residents of the four longhouses and advised them to take good care of their newly installed Sares systems.

To achieve full electrification in Sarawak by 2025, he emphasised that the Sarawak government has allocated RM2.37 billion for 2019/2020 to accelerate rural electrification under the Rural Electrification Master Plan.

“We are seeing success as electricity coverage for Sarawak’s rural population went up to 93 per cent in 2019 through various initiatives under the Master Plan including the Sares programme that kicked off in 2016.

“For Bintulu Division, Sares has connected 17 villages in Sebauh and 18 villages in Tatau, lighting up 607 households of about 3,300 residents,” he said.

In addition, he pointed out that another 21 projects were currently ongoing in the Tatau District and due for completion by early next year.

“By 2020, it is anticipated that Sares will have benefited 5,100 residents in Bintulu Division with 24-hour reliable and renewable electricity supply,” he added.

Meanwhile, 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.

Sares is an initiative under the Rural Electrification Masterplan, driven and funded by the Sarawak government through the Ministry of Utilities with Sarawak Energy as its implementation agent.

Standalone alternative systems of either solar or micro-hydro technology were installed to supply electricity to remote villages located too far to be connected to the main electricity grid.

Assistant Minister for Rural Electricity Datuk Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister of Utilities (Water Supply) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Sarawak Department of Information deputy director Aziz Abdul Rahman, Sarawak Energy Rural Electrification vice president Dr Chen Shiun as well as representatives from relevant agencies and community leaders were present.-DayakDaily