KUCHING, Dec 10: Sarawak Energy is reminding contractors to contact the utility company before proceeding with any excavation works to avoid damaging its underground cables which can affect their safety as well as causing unnecessary supply interruptions.
Despite continuous efforts to build awareness and alert the contractors on electrical line safety, Sarawak Energy pointed out that excavation was still a contributing factor to supply interruption incidents.
“Since 2016, Sarawak Energy’s utility arm, Syarikat Sesco Berhad, recorded a total of 629 cases involving damaged cables incurring a cost of more than RM4.14 million to replace and repair.
“This year alone, 132 cases have been recorded with damages costing close to RM570,000. The cost of damages aside, the impact and the inconvenience to customers affected by the supply interruptions are more concerning to Sesco,” it said in a statement today.
In the Northern Region, customers have raised several complaints of frequent interruptions over the past weeks.
Investigations into the complaints led to excavated 33kV underground cables on Nov 29, 30, and Dec 4 along the Miri Airport–Lambir road.
Among the areas affected were Desa Tai Foo, Taman Awam, Bumiko, Medical Bypass, Tanjung Lobang Housing, Taman Selera, Brighton Condominium, parts of Riam, parts of Taman Tunku and its surrounding areas.
A similar incident was also reported at Marudi on Dec 5, where a waterworks contractor accidentally excavated the 33kV underground cables near a substation.
Among the areas affected were Marudi Water Supply, Sacofa tower, Rh Jimbau, Rh Adam, Sk. Puyut, Rh Sebatang, Rh Dabai, Rh Anuar, Rh Denis, Rh Pengabang, Long Lubok Nibong area and its surrounding areas.
Sarawak Energy Northern Region’s regional manager Ir Tan Joo Kok explained that supply interruptions caused by excavation works can be avoided if Sesco was notified accordingly before carrying any works.
“Call us before you dig because we have a network of underground cables especially in developed areas. Our technical team will provide the necessary information and supervision in ensuring that you stay clear of the cables.
“Hitting these underground cables is a safety hazard to your workers and can lead to electrocution and loss of lives. It will also cause supply interruptions to residents in the area and most times, it requires extensive repair works to restore supply.
“This means prolonged interruption. At the end of the day, we want everyone to go home safely and this is why safety is our top priority,” he said.
Any third-party contractor breaching safety standards when working near live electric cables will be issued with warning letters and stop-work orders by Sarawak Energy.
“These letters are also copied to the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) under the Sarawak Ministry of Utilities, Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and the project owner to ensure the contractors take safety seriously,” it warned.
Contractors are urged to comply with the Electricity Ordinance, the Electricity Rules 1999 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 when carrying out works within the vicinity of high-tension cable or other electrical infrastructure to ensure the safety and health of all persons involved.
Contractors may contact Sarawak Energy’s 24/7 Call Centre at 1300-88-3111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to notify on works near electrical infrastructure requiring Sarawak Energy’s technical advice. -Dayakdaily