Irresponsible highway contractor almost causes outage to parts of Miri City

Concrete block installation to the stabilising mechanism.

KUCHING, Sept 9: c

Sarawak Energy said in a statement today that the irresponsible contractor was immediately instructed to cease work as the power utility company and Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd (LBU) engaged surveyors to evaluate the condition of the tower’s foundation and surrounding ground conditions before Sarawak Energy workers were mobilised to secure and stabilise the tower from tilting further by installing stabilising stay wires.

The work was considered urgent because the Tudan-Miri Airport transmission line is the main supply injection point to the southern part of Miri, supplying Miri Airport, Lambir, Luak, Taman Tunku and Miri Hospital. Any tripping to the line would cause interruption of power supply to all the areas.

“The works that commenced yesterday (Sept 8) was completed today with eight stay wires installed to stabilise and secure the tower without any untoward incident,” said the statement.

View of the tilting Transmission Tower

Sarawak Energy Group chief operating officer Lu Yew Hung said as a permanent solution, Sarawak Energy would have to construct a new tower foundation and erect a new tower.

He said for the installation of a new tower, the Tudan-Miri Airport lines would have to be shut down for three weeks. During this shutdown, the load for the southern part of Miri would be transferred to Marudi Junction injection point.

Lu warned that there would be a risk of no contingency for supply injection point to the southern part of Miri should there be any fault to the system.

“Sarawak Energy will take all the necessary measures to ensure the shutdown period is minimised through comprehensive preparations before the works commence.

“At the same time, our team will be on standby to ensure fast restoration, especially to critical areas in the case of unavoidable interruptions,” Lu assured.

Sarawak Energy lamented that despite frequent engagements and awareness campaigns to inform contractors of the need to adhere to safety measures when working near electrical facilities and infrastructure, many were still ignoring the advice and taking safety lightly.

“There are incidents where contractors still damage the cables even after engagements and safety briefing at project sites.

“The knowledge and safety culture is still very low among third party contractors, and this is very alarming, looking at the records on the number of cases affecting electrical facilities,” said Lu.

He said based on Sarawak Energy records for this year alone, there were about 10 cases of unsafe acts damaging electrical facilities, and some of the cases had caused supply interruptions to customers.

Lu assured that Sarawak Energy was pursuing maximum penalties possible under the law on these cases and if necessary, would use the provision under the Electricity Ordinance that would allow Sarawak Energy to bring the contractors to court. — DayakDaily