Pole erection works damages underground cable, disrupts power to Miri Airport

Damaged underground cable at site.

KUCHING, July 3: Pole erection works carried out for a telecommunications company near the Miri Airport substation damaged an electrical underground cable and interrupted power supply to Miri Airport, Taman Tunku and surrounding areas at around 7.30pm on Monday.

Quick action from Sarawak Energy Berhad’s technical team in Miri to route supply through an alternative cable feeder ensured power was restored within 15 minutes.

According to a press release, evidence from the site investigation indicated that the works had damaged the underground cable, causing the substation to trip.

Excavation at work and construction sites is among the main causes of power outages in Sarawak.

“Awareness from contractors on safety at work sites is still very low. We have recorded more than 350 cases since 2016 of damages due to excavation or construction related works, with damages amounting to RM3 million as of March this year,” said Lau Kim Swee, the chief executive officer of Syarikat SESCO Berhad, Sarawak Energy’s power utility arm in the statement.

Sarawak Energy is expected to take stern action against contractors for damaging electrical facilities by charging them for the repair works and prosecuting them in court under the relevant law where appropriate.

To avoid this, contractors are strongly reminded to check electricity cable routes before starting any work that involves excavation, and not to assume the location or depth of the underground cables. These basic precautionary measures will avoid unsafe and inconvenient power outages for people or facilities and ensure the safety of contractors and their workers.

“We want everybody to go home safely. It is a matter of great concern that despite constant engagements with and reminders to contractors, incidents like this continue to happen,” said Lau.

Contractors are urged to work closely with Sarawak Energy and to have proper planning, consultation and precautionary measures when working near electrical facilities.

“Sarawak Energy staff have been taking proactive measures to mitigate this issue by visiting construction sites, advising contractors to check before they excavate. Notices and reminders are also issued to contractors as part of the preventive measures. We also conduct awareness campaigns through the media. We truly hope that this will change the contractors’ approach, ensuring safety first before they commence work,” said Lau.

To avoid unnecessary inconvenience, contractors may contact Sarawak Energy at 1300-88-3111 or email customercare@sarawakenergy.com.my for assistance to check on cable routes before commencing excavation works. — DayakDaily