Sarawak Energy to act against those who cause fires near its power facilities

Open burning near the 275kV Mambong–Engkilili transmission lines on Aug 15 caused power interruptions to parts of Kuching.

KUCHING, August 19: Sarawak Energy will act firmly against those who cause fires through indiscriminate and illegal opening burning near power facilities as such activities could compromise the operations and safety of the facilities, trigger supply interruptions and endanger the lives of the workers and communities.

Sarawak Energy’s group chief executive officer Sharbini Suhaili said such acts were intolerable as they could cause extensive damage to critical facilities, such as transmission lines and substations, and thus prolong power interruptions.

“There have been frequent open burning activities and fires near our electrical facilities lately. Some of them have affected the operations, compromising safety and resulting in loss of supply,” said Sharbini in a statement today.

The hot and dry weather has seen an increase in open burning activities near Sarawak Energy’s power facilities. This month alone, there were already three cases in Simunjan, Sarikei and Kapit. On Aug 15, opening burning activities near the transmission lines at Sabal in Simunjan caused the 275kV Mambong–Engkilili lines to trip at 3.08pm, resulting in loss of supply to parts of Kuching.

“This could have caused a major interruption in Kuching. We are fortunate that with the protection system in place and our newly commissioned second transmission backbone grid, our technical team managed to minimise the number of affected areas and fully restore supply within 30 minutes,” said Sharbini.

A similar incident happened on the same day in Sarikei, near the Sarikei-Tanjung Manis 132kV transmission tower. However, swift action by the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) managed to prevent the fire from damaging the system.

On Aug 9, quick action by Bomba also brought a fire near the Kapit 132/33kV Substation under control.

Firemen managed to prevent a fire from reaching Kapit substation on Aug 9.

“Our operations team is monitoring occurrences of fire near our facilities, and we are working closely with the relevant agencies to ensure the facilities are safe and the operations are not compromised,” Sharbini added.

In a recent statement, the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) warned that those caught conducting illegal open burning could be fined up to RM30,000.

Sarawak Energy is also urging the public to report any open burning activity to the relevant authorities to prevent any untoward incident that could cause public inconvenience. The public can also call Sarawak Energy Customer Care Centre at 1300 88 3111. — DayakDaily