Sares lights up 9 villages of 630 more households in Telang Usan

Chen (third right) handing over the Sares system to Lio Mato village chief Edam Emang in a symbolic ceremony witnessed by Dr Rundi (back centre) and other distinguished guests.

KUCHING, Sept 22: Telang Usan saw the electrification of 630 more households from nine villages, with 6,861 residents benefitting from Sares solar-powered systems this month.

Sarawak Energy in a media release disclosed that the nine beneficiary villages include Long Ajeng, Ba’ Muboi, Lio Mato, Long Tungan, Long Selaan, Long Moh, Long Jeeh, Long Jekitan and Long Tikan.

The communities gathered at Kampung Lio Mato yesterday for the official handover of the newly installed Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares) systems from project implementer Sarawak Energy, and to celebrate the successful completion of their training to operate and maintain the renewable solar system.

Minister for Utilities Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, who officiated at the event, emphasised that Sares, which replaced the noisy and expensive diesel generator sets with limited running hours, will make a big difference to the lives of the people in the remote areas of Sarawak.

The newly installed SARES solar-powered systems at Kampung Lio Mato.

“Growing up in rural Sarawak in a longhouse with no such utility, I know what a big difference this will bring to the people. Sares is truly lighting up rural Sarawak,” he said.

Dr Rundi pointed out that in 2009, only 56 per cent of Sarawak had electricity coverage and at the end of 2019, electricity coverage for the rural population has grown to 93 per cent with a total state coverage of 97 per cent.

“This is due to many strategic measures implemented over the last decade to make sure every rural household will have access to reliable electricity 24/7.

“In 2018, we launched Sarawak’s RM2.37 billion Accelerated Rural Electrification Masterplan which aims to provide access to reliable electricity supply 24/7 to every village and household in rural Sarawak. This includes extending the rural reach of the transmission and distribution infrastructure and targeting remote longhouses for Sares,” he explained.

The success, Dr Rundi continued, was evident with the spike in electrified households, allowing Sarawak to progress further in its ultimate ambition for every household in Sarawak to enjoy reliable power supply by 2025.

First introduced in 2016, Sares has accelerated electricity coverage for Sarawak’s remote rural heartlands.

Lead Acid Batteries at the SARES powerhouse.

Villages too distant to be grid-connected were now provided with free and renewable electricity via alternative off-grid solutions, funded by the Sarawak government.

In the Telang Usan district, more than 2,800 households from 49 remote villages now have access to 24-hour free electricity supply via the Sares initiative.

With Sares, each household is provided with 3,000Wh of renewable electricity daily, catering for a typical rural household’s basic needs that include lighting, fans, television, small refrigerator and rice cooker.

The system brought convenience and ease to these households as there was less need for frequent travel to town to buy provisions as well as diesel for their former generator sets.

Rundi urged the Village Development and Security Committees (JKKK) and local community leaders to take good care of their newly installed systems and reassured them that Sarawak Energy would continue to provide technical support after the project’s completion and implementation.

Deputy Speaker and Mulu assemblyman Dato Gerawat Gala, Assistant Minister for Utilities (Rural Electricity) Datuk Liwan Lagang, Baram MP Anyi Ngau, Telang Usan District Officer Baru Tai, Sarawak Energy vice president for Rural Electrification Dr Chen Shiu as well as representatives from relevant agencies and community leaders were in attendance. —DayakDaily