MIRI, Nov 6: An illegal blockade of the Miri Town Substation and its extension project was removed in an orderly manner.
In a press statement today, Sarawak Energy Berhad (Sarawak Energy) said that the operation to remove the blockade was done by relevant departments comprising personnel from Sarawak Energy and operations arm Syarikat SESCO Berhad, Electrical Inspectorate Unit of the Ministry of Utilities, the police and Land and Survey Department.
“The protestors were hampering Sarawak Energy personnel working to ensure adequate and reliable supply to the city’s central business district and its surrounding areas.
“Having secured an injunction order from the Court, the team worked to ensure all illegal structures set up to obstruct the smooth operation of and access to the Miri Town Substation were removed safely,” said Sarawak Energy.
Sarawak Energy disclosed that the team were also on site to liaise with the land claimants to inform them of the operation which also includes clearing the way for the utility’s operations and maintenance team to carry out scheduled maintenance of the substation which has been in operation for 30 years.
The claimants who were on site were given time to vacate the area before the legal site entry and clearing began to avoid untoward incidents.
Sarawak Energy stated the prolonged denial of entry at the Miri Town 33/11kV Substation by blockaders claiming land rights over Canada Hill, has jeopardised reliable and safe functioning of the critical facility which supplies the city’s central business district and its surrounding areas.
Sarawak Energy pointed out that the area claimed includes the site on which the substation has been in operation. The blockaders have been obstructing the duties of the operations team, denying access into the premises to perform scheduled and unscheduled maintenance work.
“The group illegally padlocked the substation gates, causing a delay in supply restoration during an outage this year. An extension project located adjacent to the existing substation has been at a standstill for close to a year now. The new indoor substation was initially targeted to be commissioned in August this year, but construction had to stop due to the blockade as well as a matter of safety to all,” lamented Sarawak Energy.
The company stressed that the project is a critical component of its significant investment in the Miri Power Supply Reinforcement Plan to upgrade supply system to meet rapid expansion and rising electricity demand of the people of Miri.
The state-owned energy developer and power utility has worked with the assistance of and support from relevant authorities to reach out to the land claimants on several occasions to explain the criticality of the substation to ensure supply reliability to the people of Miri.
Sarawak Energy reiterated that projects to modernise electricity infrastructure must be completed on schedule and on budget otherwise the risk remains of having a system that cannot cope with the growing demands of the state leading to inadequate power supply and reduced reliability.
It also said it respected the rights of individuals and organisations in expressing their point of view but requested that this be done in a manner that is lawful and does not jeopardise the safe operations of its facilities and the safety of its personnel who are carrying out their duties to ensure reliable supply to the people. — DayakDaily