Celebrating 100 years of powering Sarawak: The story of Sarawak Energy

Sarawak Energy celebrating 100th year Anniversary

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SARAWAK ENERGY was set up as an electrical department during the Brooke Administration in 1921 and began powering Kuching on a very limited scale with two coal-fired boilers with steam engines in 1923.

In the 1920s.
In the 1920s.

This was the beginning of a century of growth and transformation into Malaysia’s largest renewable energy developer and primary provider of electricity to Sarawak and beyond.


Wholly owned by the Sarawak Government and under the purview of Sarawak’s Ministry of Utilities, today we are a vertically integrated power utility and employ over 5,400 Sarawakians serving almost three million people and over 700,000 domestic, commercial, industrial and export account holders.

Our vision is to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity for Sarawak by meeting the region’s need for reliable and renewable energy, setting the scene for us to build on our ambition in Southeast Asia.

We remain committed to our primary goal of providing Sarawak full access to 24-7 reliable electricity supply, and will continue to invest in our generation, transmission, distribution and digitalisation infrastructure to give Sarawakians a more modern electricity system and power Sarawak’s growth.

As we celebrate 100 years of powering Sarawak and move forward towards the next century of growth, we would like to say thank you to Sarawak and its people.

1920s

Powering Kuching with two coal-fired boilers and steam engines in 1923.

Electrical Section within Public Works Department set up to oversee electricity supply in Sarawak.

Kuching’s first power station commissioned on Jalan Power where Electra House now stands.

1930s

Electricity supply reaches Sarikei, Dalat, Binatang (Bintangor), Simanggang (Sri Aman) & Bintulu.

Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation (SESCO) formed to supply electricity throughout Sarawak.

Mukah power plant came into operation

1940s

Miri’s first power station commissioned.

Betong supplied with power for the first time.

1950s

Extension of supply planned to 15 new centres – Bari, Batu Kawah, Batu 10, Batu 32, Bau, Dalat, Lawas, Limbang, Marudi, Saratok, Serian, Sibuti, Siniawan, Sungai Merah (Sibu) & Spaoh.

British ruled Sarawak Government took over SESCO in September 1953.

New Sungai Priok power station in Pending, Kuching commissioned with total 4.05MW generating capacity.

1960s

SESCO explores hydroelectric potential through a Colombo Plan survey.

Rural Electrification Scheme was announced to supply 90% Sarawakians with electricity over the next 40 years.

1970s

Bakun hydroelectric plant (HEP) on the Balui river upstream of Belaga proposed.

Kuching completed 38.4MW power station at Kg. Biawak.

1980s

Sarawak’s largest civil engineering project Batang Ai HEP was commissioned, launching the company’s hydropower journey to create sustainable value for Sarawak.

New headquarters Wisma SESCO completed. The architectural landmark resembled an electric transformer.

Personal touch of Sarawak Energy.

1990s

Sarawak Enterprise Corporation Berhad (SECB) acquired 45% equity in SESCO from the Sarawak Government.

195MW Tanjong Kidurong Power Station became the largest gas-fired plant in Sarawak.

Two 50MW coal-fired generators came online before the 210MW Sejingkat Power Plant’s completion in 2004-Sarawak’s first major coal-fired power plant.

Harnessing power and distributing power for Sarawak and beyond.

2000s

SESCO became a wholly-owned subsidiary of SECB and was renamed Syarikat SESCO Berhad.

Sarawak Enterprise Corporation Berhad officially renamed Sarawak Energy Berhad in 2007.

Launch of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) in 2008 to leverage Sarawak’s abundant renewable hydropower and natural resources to power energy-intensive industries and attract other investments into the area.

Massive RM2.7 billion 500kV Second Transmission Backbone project commenced in 2013 running parallel to the first 275kV Transmission Grid.

Official opening of 944MW Murum HEP in 2016.

The Murum Dam which is about 40 km away from the Bakun Dam.

The 1,285MW Baleh Hydroelectric Project receives formal approval from the Sarawak Government.

First power interconnection to West Kalimantan, Indonesia in 2016, our first step towards materialising the Borneo Grid and the wider ASEAN Power Grid.

Part of the State’s rural electrification masterplan’s strategy to achieve full coverage by 2025, Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme or SARES, an innovative government-community partnership model is launched.

Sarawak acquires the 2,400MW Bakun HEP from the Federal Government in 2017.

The 2,400MW Bakun HEP contributing to the renewable energy mix.

Northern Grid Extension Project to connect Limbang Division to the main grid commences.

Southeast Asia’s first integrated Hydrogen Production Plant and Refueling Station in Kuching launched in support of Sarawak’s Green Energy Agenda with the introduction of Sarawak’s first hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Ministry of Utilities & Sarawak Energy organise SAREF – an international conference of energy and sustainability leaders – where Sarawak’s first renewable energy certificates (REC) is launched.

The vision of Sarawak Energy: Powering Sarawak and beyond.

Sarawak Energy was the first corporation in Malaysia to commit to the “Business Ambition for 1.5°Celsius” under United Nations Global Compact.

A Power Exchange Agreement and an Interconnection Agreement was signed with Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) advancing further the Borneo Grid and ASEAN Power Grid. — DayakDaily

Menara Sarawak Energy