SEB urges contractors to check underground cable routes before excavating

Restoration team working to restore supply to the affected areas.

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MIRI, Feb 18: Sarawak Energy strongly urges third-party contractors to contact the company before starting excavation works to avoid damaging underground cables and unnecessary electricity supply interruptions.

Investigations into recent complaints about frequent supply interruptions affecting about 2,500 customers in Bekenu, Batu Niah and surrounding areas in Miri found that the 33kV underground cables were damaged due to construction works related to the Pan Borneo Highway.

Sarawak Energy’s utility arm, Syarikat Sesco Berhad (Sesco) chief executive officer (CEO) Lau Kim Swee said the corporation was deeply concerned as safety incidents and unplanned supply interruptions continue to be recorded despite numerous engagements with the relevant third-party contractors on safe work practices near electrical installations along the project route.

“Contractors must check the cable route with us to make sure everything is safe and follow the guidelines, and not to assume the location or depth of the underground cables.

“These basic precautionary measures will avoid many unwanted incidents and keep the lights on for the people of Sarawak. This will also ensure the safety of the contractors and their workers. We want everybody to go home safely,” he said in a media release today.

The damaged 33kV underground cable caused by excavation works

Urging contractors to work closely with Sarawak Energy, Lau emphasised that most incidents could have been avoided if the contractors practiced proper planning, consultation, and precautionary measures.

In the recent Bukit Song case caused by third party excavation works, Sarawak Energy received a power outage report at 8.50pm on Feb 15.

Supply to all affected areas was subsequently fully restored at 11.30am Feb 17 due to the extensive repairs required.

To date, 476 excavation cases causing cable damage have been recorded since 2018, with damages costing about RM3.2 million.

In January this year alone, 12 cases have been recorded. In these cases, Sarawak Energy will issue a warning letter and bill the contractor responsible for the damage for the cost of repair and revenue loss.

Sarawak Energy also reminded contractors to comply at all times 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.

To avoid unnecessary inconvenience, contractors may contact Sarawak Energy’s 24/7 Call Centre at 1300-88-3111 or email customercare@sarawakenergy.com to notify on works near electrical infrastructure requiring Sarawak Energy’s technical advice. — DayakDaily