Sarawak Energy records 47 cable-damaging cases by contractors, losses hit RM360k

Sarawak Energy's technical team repairing damaged cables to restore supply safely to Kapit.

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KUCHING, May 6: Sarawak Energy Berhad (Sarawak Energy) has recorded a total of 47 cable damage cases with damage costs of over RM360,000 caused by unconsulted third-party excavations in Sarawak in the first few months of 2021 alone.

Since 2018, it said, there were 520 similar cases whereby the losses recorded were as high as RM4.7 million and the contractors involved would be held responsible for all repair costs and revenue losses.

In the recent major outage in Kapit from May 2 to 3 involving the Kapit Hospital and Water Treatment Plant, investigations confirmed the outage was caused by Horizontal Direct Drilling (HDD) works by contractors who failed to consult with Sarawak Energy beforehand.

The drilling works had accidentally damaged a 33kV underground cable near Country Heights, thus damaging the major feeder line supplying electricity to Kapit district.

Following the outage, Sarawak Energy said a Sibu technical team was deployed to facilitate safe restoration of electricity supply where mobile generator sets (gensets) from Sibu, Sarikei and Bintulu were brought in to provide temporary supply amidst repair works.

With the technical teams working around the clock, the supply was normalised in stages to Kapit starting at 10pm on May 2 until 8pm on May 3 due to extensive repair works needed compounded by heavy rain.

In response to this, Sarawak Energy Central Region regional manager Nazry Abdul Latip said warning letters and stop-work orders were issued to the contractors involved.

“We have also copied these letters to the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak, Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and the project owner for further actions to ensure the contractors seriously regard safety as a top priority.

“All repair costs will also be borne by the contractors responsible for this,” he said in a statement today.

He also called upon all contractors to seek information regarding potential cable routes from Sarawak Energy’s technical teams to stay clear of cables that may cause injuries or even fatalities to contractor workers.

He urged contractors to comply with the Electricity Ordinance, the Electricity Rules 1999 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Osha) 1994 when carrying out works within the vicinity of high-tension cables or other electrical infrastructure. — DayakDaily