Pan Borneo Highway contractor damages electrical pole, causes 5-hour outage in Engkilili

The 11kV electrical pole damaged by a third-party contractor causing a supply interruption in Engkilili.

KUCHING, June 4: A 11kV electrical pole which was damaged by a third-party Pan Borneo Highway contractor had caused a power interruption, affecting some 500 customers in Engkilili and its surrounding areas on the second day of the Gawai celebrations.

Following this incident, Sarawak Energy in a media statement today, reported that an emergency shutdown was carried out at 8pm on the same day (June 2) for repair works while a mobile generator set was deployed to provide temporary supply to Engkilili health clinic.

“Supply was successfully restored to affected customers five hours later,” it said.

While the contractors at fault were asked to stop work, Sarawak Energy said that they will also be issued with warning letters which will be copied to the Ministry of Utilities, Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), relevant agencies and the project owner for further action.

Western Region regional manager Choo Min Chong emphasised that safety has always been the utility provider’s top priority, and all contractors should also do the same.

“It is our standard protocol to immediately issue warning letters and stop-work orders as well as giving a safety briefing to contractors whenever a dangerous situation arises on site.

“We want the contractors to take safety seriously while carrying out works near electrical facilities,” he said.

In all cases where there were damages to the electrical facilities due to contractors’ negligence, Choo added that they will bear all repair costs and Sarawak Energy will not hesitate to take legal action against the contractors.

Despite continuous reminders and engagements on the importance of electrical safety, Sarawak Energy was well aware that cases of supply interruptions caused by construction works by third-party contractors remained frequent, causing inconvenience to the affected customers.

Since 2019, Sarawak Energy highlighted that 400 cases of electrical facility damages had been reported, with damages costing Sarawak Energy more than RM2 million.

“This year alone, 71 cases have been reported so far, incurring damages worth more than RM400,000. The contractors behind the damages will be held liable for the repair costs and revenue loss.”

Once again, Sarawak Energy reminds all contractors to be cautious during construction and excavation works to avoid damaging electrical facilities leading to extensive repair works and prolonged and unnecessary supply interruptions.

“Furthermore, damaging electrical facilities poses a safety hazard to contractors and their workers as it may result in injuries caused by electrocution and even loss of lives.”

Sarawak Energy also urged contractors to comply with the Electricity Ordinance, the Electricity Rules 1999, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 when carrying out works within the vicinity of high-tension cables or other electrical infrastructure to ensure safety and health of all persons involved.

To notify of works near electrical infrastructure requiring Sarawak Energy’s technical advice, contractors may contact Sarawak Energy’s 24/7 Customer Care Centre at 1300-88-3111 or email — DayakDaily