Power outage on first day of CNY caused by cable theft attempt

The 33kV underground cables cut in the attempt to steal the copper.

KUCHING, Feb 19: An investigation by Sarawak Energy’s operations arm, Syarikat SESCO Berhad’s (SESCO) into the Chinese New Year power outage affecting some parts of Petra Jaya, revealed the cause to be cables severely damaged by attempted cable theft.

According to a press release today, in the incident, two 33kV underground cables from Matang to Astana 33kV substation, was cut at a location near Bulatan Datuk Temenggong Abang Kipali’s construction site. This resulted in the outage on Friday, Feb 16 at around 10pm, affecting supply to Astana and the surrounding areas, Semariang and parts of Santubong.

Swift action from SESCO’s technical team managed to restore supply to all affected areas in less than 20 minutes via other 33KV substations.

Fault locating and repair works were immediately arranged and it took almost 15 hours to complete due to the extensive damage.

At the site, hand gloves, a bag and other belongings of the thieves were found, believed to be used in the attempt to steal the cables. A police report was lodged for investigation purposes.

SESCO CEO Lau Kim Swee said the latest incident was another attempt of cable theft which shows that the thieves are getting bolder every day.

“Since 2015 there have been more than 500 cases of cable (copper) theft targeting our facilities with losses of nearly RM7 million. For this case, as the site is near a major construction area, they must have thought that the cables have been de-energised or inactive.

“Stealing cables is very dangerous. In addition to causing serious injury or fatality due to electrocution, it also causes inconveniences to the community living in the surrounding area due to outage. There are also situations where damaged cables cause voltage instability, damaging customers’ electrical appliances.

“Hence we seek continuous assistance and cooperation from the public to give us any information on suspicious activities near electrical facilities. Quick actions from all quarters will minimise inconvenience and help to curb this dangerous crime. On our part, we will continue to work closely with the police, increase our site patrols and harden the targets such as reinforcing security measures at our substations and facilities,” said Lau.

The public may contact Sarawak Energy’s Customer Care Centre at 1300-88-3111 which operates 24 hours, seven days a week or immediately call the nearest police station. Reports may also be logged into Sarawak Energy’s “SEB cares” mobile app. — DayakDaily