KUCHING, September 15: The state government, through Sarawak Energy, hopes to light up 323 remotest villages by using the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares) by 2020.
Sarawak Energy’s vice president (Research and Development) Dr Chen Shiun said the Sares initiative was launched in March 2016 in an attempt to electrify 323 remotest villages that could not be reached by the main grid.
The Sares programme is supposed to be funded by both the state and Federal governments, with Sarawak coming out with RM270 million and Putrajaya RM230 million.
“These projects are to be completed within five years, from 2016 to 2020,” said Chen, when giving a briefing to the media at a local resort recently.
He explained that Sares had been implemented as government-community partnership projects, where Sarawak Energy provides the technical expertise to design and implement and then hand over the completed system to the village community to operate and maintain.
“Electricity is provided at no cost, and the design is practical and simple to install and operate,” said Chen, citing the example of the installation of solar system that have been in place in Tanjung Datu National Park, Pulau Talang-Talang Besar and Pulau Talang-Talang Kechil.
Sarawak Energy managed to provide electricity through the installation of solar panel system for 1,369 households in 58 remote villages in 2016.
In 2017, another 1,600 households in 59 villages were “electrified” through Sares.
As for 2018, the target is to bring electricity to 1,962 households in 75 villages in the interior of Sarawak.
“Presently, about 120 to 130 solar system projects are running, and these projects are spread throughout the state,” said Chen.
He said most of these solar system projects were working perfectly well and without any power interruption except one or two which tripped due to lightning strikes and were subsequently restored.
It is also the state government’s plans to bring electricity to another 2,101 households in 73 villages next year and to 1,907 households in 75 villages in 2020.
Chen said currently, there are still 987 villages with 20,657 households that remain un-electrified due to the lack of money.
He classified these villages in three categories, where Category 1 are the villages near to grid and with ready road access. There are 4,747 villagers under this category.
Category 2 are villages near the grid but road access has yet to be completed. There are 543 villages under this category, where 10,614 villagers are involved.
Category 3 are those villages far from the grid, and it is not practical to connect them to the grid. There are 191 villages with 5,296 households under this category. — DayakDaily