Recent power outage in Batu Kawa caused by third-party contractor damaging underground cables

The damaged 11kV underground cable is circled in red. Photo credit: Sarawak Energy

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KUCHING, July 25: Sarawak Energy Berhad (Sarawak Energy) urges all third-party contractors to check with them on the location of underground cables before commencing excavation works to avoid damaging underground cables.

Despite numerous reminders and warnings, power supply interruptions caused by third-party excavation works continue to inconvenience customers.

To notify Sarawak Energy of works near electrical infrastructure requiring Sarawak Energy’s technical advice, contractors may contact the energy providers’s 24/7 Customer Care Centre at 1300-88-3111 or email customercare@sarawakenergy.com.


Sarawak Energy in a statement said a third-party Public Works Department (JKR) contractor damaged an 11kV underground cable while carrying out excavation works on July 24, disrupting supply to Batu Kawa, all MJC commercial shophouses and surrounding areas at 9am.

Upon receiving the outage report from the public, Sarawak Energy immediately deployed its technical team and successfully restored supply to approximately 3,000 affected customers within two hours.

Cable repair works commenced on the same day and the contractors at fault were issued a stop-work order.

Warning and penalty letters will be issued and copied to the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak, Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), and the project owner for further action.

Excavation works at MJC damaged the underground power cables. Photo credit: Sarawak Energy

Sarawak Energy’s Western Region regional manager Choo Min Chong expressed his disappointment over the repeated cases of third-party excavation works damaging cables in the past months.

“We are very concerned over the increasing cases of underground cable damage due to third-party excavation works.

“Even though we have issued warning letters and penalised the contractors at fault, these cases continue to happen.

“If needed, we may bring the contractors at fault to court.

“We remind all third-party contractors to be mindful and check with us on the cable route for underground cables before starting any excavation works,” said Choo.

“Coming in contact with supply cables is a safety hazard to contractors and their workers as it may result in injuries caused by electrocution and even loss of lives

“At the end of the day, we want to protect the safety of their workers and the public so that everyone goes home safely,” Choo added.

Sarawak Energy will not hesitate to issue warning letters and stop-work orders to any contractors breaching safety standards when working near live electric cables.

These letters are also copied to the relevant authorities so that contractors make safety their top priority when carrying out excavation works.

Since 2019, more than 400 cases of electrical facility damage by third-party excavations have been reported, costing Sarawak Energy more than RM2 million in damages.

This year alone, 103 cases have been reported so far, incurring damages worth more than RM500,000.

The contractors behind the damages will be held liable for the repair costs and revenue loss.

Contractors are urged 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 the safety and health of all persons involved. — DayakDaily