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Sustainable Energy Development and a Reliable, Secure Power System for Sarawak

Sarawakians in the state are benefiting from a massive upgrade of its electricity infrastructure - to modernise the power supply system, ensure full access to reliable 24 hour supply and realise the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy or SCORE.

Sarawak Energy is tasked with delivering these objectives under the guidance of the State Government and operating within the regulatory framework of the Ministry of Public Utilities.

Performance to Benefit Everyone

Sarawak’s 600,000 domestic and business consumers now pay the lowest tariffs in Malaysia and are experiencing greater reliability and security of supply.

More and more households are connected with 24 hour electricity supply, some in areas as remote as Bario for which this would have been a dream ten years ago.

SCORE is already delivering the economic value promised. Samalaju Industrial Park has recorded a total of RM25 billion of approved investment projects since 2008. New job opportunities have been created especially in technical professions and highly-skilled areas. Bintulu is benefiting from the boomtown effect.

Upstream generation areas like Murum and Bakun have opened up with the local population now enjoying better road connectivity and improved access to education and health care. With Sarawak’s electricity supply mainly from hydropower today, the state’s carbon intensity for electrical supply has dropped by almost 60% since 2009.

Sarawak Energy is expanding, not only to provide efficient, reliable and competitively priced clean energy for the people of Sarawak, but also to neighbouring countries as it fulfils its aspiration to become the renewable energy powerhouse for this region.

To materialise this farsighted regional ambition and simultaneously power the State Government’s commitment to connect all Sarawak - both urban and rural - with 24-hour electricity, Sarawak Energy is embarking on a combination of large generation projects such as big hydro, gas and coal-fired plants and small scale off-grid generation projects such as solar home systems and micro hydro for the remotest villages.

Sarawak Energy aims to strike a balance between social, economic and environmental benefits in the company’s projects as a socially responsible corporate citizen - the objective is to maximise the positive impact and mitigate any negative impact.

An aerial view of the thriving Samalaju Industrial Park

In pursuing sustainable energy development for Sarawak and a reliable, secure power system, the benefits of these efforts are already being realised.

Lighting up the Kuching skyline

24-hour supply to villages and longhouses

Installing solar panels at a remote village

Micro-hydro dam generates electricity for Long Rusu, Ba’ Kelalan

Electricity Supply

Sarawak Energy operates under the regulatory framework of the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU), Ministry of Public Utilities.

The role of the Electrical Inspectorate Unit is to:

  • Advise on the policy and direction with regard to the planning and development for an adequate, reliable, efficient, affordable and safe power system in the State.
  • Monitor the technical performance of the electricity industry in general and licensees in particular to ensure technical compliances and public safety.
  • Provide an environment that encourages continued investment in the sector, efficiency improvement and to protect consumer interests.

Electrifying rural Sarawak is a State Government commitment - Minister of Public Utilities at the launch of the latest RES project in Song


  • The general policy is to ensure availability of adequate, reliable, efficient, affordable and safe supply of electricity in the State which is managed in a sustainable manner.
  • State Power Development Optimal and sustainable development of the power requirements where the generation mix will be less dependent on fossil fuels and utilize indigenous hydro and coal resources to meet future electricity demand to ensure long term competitive pricing that will spur economic growth.
  • Regional Power House Development of hydro resources for trading of excess electricity beyond Sarawak that can facilitate in the optimal development of such indigenous resources in the State.
  • Renewable Energy Development To encourage renewable energy development such as biomass, biogas, municipal wastes, wind, solar and mini-hydro as the fifth fuel resources under the country's Fuel Diversification Policy.
  • Electricity Tariff structure that is fair and equitable to the customers and reflects the real cost of supply to the various customer groups.

Generating Power to Grow

Many countries need to import energy to meet their domestic needs. Sarawak has an enormous advantage - it can generate and meet its current and projected power demand by utilising its abundant rainfall and indigenous resources such as gas and coal, producing enough electricity to cater for its domestic, industrial and commercial customers, and attract bulk power and export customers. To support the State’s SCORE agenda, Sarawak Energy is committed to harnessing the State’s hydroelectricity resources in a sustainable manner, that complies with Sarawak and Malaysian law, guided by international best practices.

In the 50 years prior to SCORE, Sarawak's energy demand grew organically reaching 4,705 GWh in 2009. With the acceleration in development brought about by SCORE, the energy demand has increased to 14,038 GWh in 2015 - a 200% growth.

Sarawak Energy has to ensure it has more than enough generating capacity to meet the demand of its organic, SCORE and export customers - current generation capacity is 4,437 MW, rising to 7,825 MW by 2025.

To date, Sarawak has a total of three hydroelectric plants (HEP) and five thermal plants. A balanced generation mix is necessary for the effective development of Sarawak’s energy future - while hydro potential is the best option to supply Sarawak’s present and future needs, coal and gas plants are required for energy security.

Currently Sarawak Energy obtains 74% of its power from hydropower, with the balance coming from thermal generation (coal, gas and diesel). However, by 2025 the contribution from thermal power is targeted to rise to 40%. This target mix of sources was selected to enhance energy security and optimise the availability of gas and coal from Sarawak. The new thermal power stations will be constructed in compliance to the current environmental standards.

Generating electricity for Sarawak


The transmission grids connect the generator plants such as Murum and Bakun with large demand centres such as Kuching and Samalaju. By the end of 2016, the existing 275kV transmission grid will be further reinforced by the all-new 500kV Backbone Transmission Grid, a massive state infrastructure project which runs for over 500km from Similajau to Tondong in Kuching Division. This RM2.7 billion investment will strengthen the state power system’s reliability and resolve existing or anticipated constraints, doubling the capacity of the transmission network and massively increasing system reliability. The state transmission grid will also be extended to Lawas District, an important border zone poised for rapid economic growth.

The transmission grids connect generator plants with large demand centres


Sarawak Energy is on call all day to deliver constant, reliable power to homes and work places and to ensure quick restoration in the event of an outage. Operation and maintenance works are often carried out by the team in hazardous and severe weather conditions with safety as the highest priority - a Permit to Work is mandatory before commencing.

Sarawak Energy is striving to continuously improve our distribution system to give Sarawakians the modern, efficient and reliable power system every customer deserves.

Continuous improvement for reliable supply distribution


People Development

Sarawak Energy employs 4,300 Sarawakians making it one of largest employers of local talents in the State. The company strongly advocates equal opportunities in employment, and hires the best talents available. Staff are trained and developed through formal programmes and on the job training, with the aim of developing a skilful and committed workforce to meet future needs and challenges.

  • Sarawak Energy Group CEO Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit at the 2015 Loyalty Service Awards, flanked by Aisah Eden, EVP Corporate Services and Lu Yew Hung, CEO SESCO

Continuous Improvement in Customer Reach

  • SEB Cares, Sarawak Energy’s Mobile App, makes it easier for customers to interface with Sarawak Energy by providing a one-stop solution through the convenience of a smart phone.
  • Two Customer Care Centres operate 24-7, 365 days a year to receive calls from customers throughout the State - Call 1300-88-3111 — highly trained customer care agents are always at your service
  • There are 31 service counters throughout the state, including at UTCs

Community Based Partnerships

For a state with rugged and challenging terrain like Sarawak, ensuring full coverage means innovative solutions.

In the last 5 years, 85,000 new homes in rural areas have been connected under the Rural Electrification Scheme.

However, over 8,700 households in the 300 isolated villages are still without 24-hour supply, dependent on off-grid expensive diesel generation which typically supply only a few hours of power after nightfall. The Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES) will be implemented over the next 5 years with State and Federal Government funding. The State Government, and Sarawak Energy, is partnering with the communities to power-up these villages utilising renewables like solar and micro-hydro. The SARES team will design, build and install localised off-grid solar or micro-hydro systems before handing over to the community to operate.

Distribution lines stretch across the rural landscape


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Alternative Energy For Sarawak - Lighting up off-grid communities

SESCO standard overhead lines from micro-hydro powerhouse to Long Rusu village, Ba’ kelalan

Some 400 villages in the remote rural heartlands of Sarawak are impossible to connect to the main electricity grid. The extremely rugged and challenging terrain means these communities cannot be supplied with electricity by extending distribution poles and power lines.

However, this logistical challenge is not stopping the State Government from fulfilling its commitment to provide electricity to each and every Sarawakian where possible. And with advancements in alternative renewable technology, there are more possibilities in applications for stand-alone off-grid supply.

About 2,000 households located in remote areas such as Batang Ai, the Murum Resettlement Scheme in Belaga, Pelagus and Katibas in Central Region, Baram, Bario and Ba’ Kelalan in the north are already connected with 24-hour electricity through such off-grid alternative technology funded by the government or Sarawak Energy’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes.

However, over 8,700 households in the 300 isolated villages are still without 24-hour supply, dependent on noisy and expensive diesel generators which typically supply only a few hours of power after nightfall. The State Government headed by the Chief Minister's Office, together with Sarawak Energy and the Public Works Department, are embarking on a bold integrated effort to power up these villages utilising renewables like solar and micro-hydro.

About 8,700 households in 300 isolated villages will enjoy 24-hour electricity with the implementation of SARES over the next five years

Leveraging on the proven expertise and experience of these partner agencies, the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme or SARES will be implemented over the next five years through State and Federal Government funding of about RM500 million.

The SARES team will design, build and install localised off-grid solar or micro-hydro systems at these villages before handing over to the community to operate. This year, fifty villages have been identified to be equipped with solar systems. Based on successful models implemented by Sarawak Energy at Batang Ai, the initial focus on solar systems is due to the relative ease of installation. Studies shall also be carried out for sites with micro-hydro potential.

This innovative government-community partnership model will see the mobilisation of government machinery and agencies to help villagers build and subsequently own and operate more sustainable and affordable electricity generating systems with follow-up training provided periodically. The agencies are also committed to providing long-term support on operations and maintenance.

SARES systems cater to typical rural household electricity needs with lighting, fans, a television, freezer and cooker. The designs are focused on simplicity of operation without compromising on safety. Villagers can choose to maintain separate diesel generators to supplement supply during festive celebrations or as backup during Sarawak’s seasonal monsoons or droughts.

Electrifying rural Sarawak is a State Government commitment - Minister of Public Utilities at the launch of the latest RES project in Song

Micro-hydro dam and turbine (right) generates electricity for Long Rusu, Ba’ Kelalan

In arriving at innovative solutions for off-grid challenges, the ultimate goal is to ensure that everyone in Sarawak – however remote – has access to constant 24-hour renewable electricity supply.

Case Study

SARES is conceptually similar to Sarawak Energy’s successful CSR electrification initiatives at Batang Ai. In 2014, Sarawak Energy’s Research & Development Department began to install Solar Home Systems (SHS) at a number of longhouses situated upstream of Batang Ai reservoir.

Undertaken in cooperation with the villagers, so far 63 households at a total cost of RM2 million have benefited from these relatively cost-effective solutions. The daily operation of the SHS and the monitoring of the power usage are carried out by the villagers themselves with continuing technical support and periodic maintenance by Sarawak Energy. The project has since been upgraded with communal freezers.

First successfully implemented at Rumah Kino and Rumah Manggat in Menyang, the project expanded to three more villages in Nanga Jengin and Ulu Delok - Rumah Griffin, Rumah Jangong and Rumah Ninting – after positive feedback. Further installations are planned for 16 households at Rumah Brown, Nanga Stapang in the Engkari area by September.

Intake structure at Long Banga Micro-Hydro Power Plant

Shophouses in Pasar Bario can now enjoy 24-hour electricity with the operationalisation of the Solar Hybrid Power Station (left)

The 8-household Rumah Jangong in Pala Taong is one and a half hours boat ride away from the Batang Ai public jetty and has no road access

Installation of solar panels for a solar freezer system at Batang Ai

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The 500kV Backbone Transmission State Infrastructure Project

The 500kV Backbone Transmission State Infrastructure Project - Sarawak’s Answer To A More Reliable And Modern Power Supply System

Sarawak has a competitive advantage in energy resources that can power socio-economic growth and development – high rainfall and natural reserves of coal and gas that can be converted to hydro and thermal energy.

However energy generation alone is not enough. This needs to go hand-in-hand with the upgrading of the state’s grid system and accompanying facilities to ensure a more reliable and modern power system network.

As old as 30 years in parts, the present 275kV transmission system now serves a population of over 2.6 million and about 600,000 customers across the state.

In 2013, Sarawak Energy embarked on the 500kV Backbone Transmission Grid - a massive state infrastructure upgrading project costing RM2.7 billion.

Running parallel to the current 275kV transmission grid, the 500kV Backbone Transmission Grid will strengthen the state power system’s reliability and solve the current system constraints.

The new grid will provide a second transmission backbone to transmit electricity from the major generation power plants concentrated in the north to customers in Sarawak, particularly in the more densely populated southern region. The transmission lines will stretch all the way from Similajau to Tondong in Kuching division.

The 500kV transmission means that in the event of a double circuit trip, major blackouts such as what happened in November 2015 and January 2016 would be avoided via the additional two circuits.


For the 500kV Backbone Transmission Grid project, three critical construction packages need to be completed to solve the current north-south system constraint limitation.

Within these packages, a total of 994 towers have to be erected involving securing rights-of-way for the transmission line route and to obtain access to construct the towers. Completion of these critical parts of the grid and how soon these issues can be resolved is crucial for the project to progress.

The process allows for a mutually satisfactory resolution after consultations, group briefings and engagements with the affected parties together with government agencies and officials on compensation matters. When there is disagreement, legal recourse is available for both parties.

Out of 2048 landowners affected by these three packages, 2029 have cooperated with the relevant agencies and agreed to allow the project to pass through their land. Their cooperation and understanding has been invaluable in ensuring the progress of this project.

However, due to objections from 19 claimants on wayleave or land access issues - less than 1 percent of the 2048 landowners – the construction of just a few remaining towers were stalled. This means that the risk of repeated and prolonged major blackouts in areas from Kuching to Sibu remains elevated - a potential 2 to 3 major outages could happen in a year until these critical parts of the project are completed.

It is hoped that these remaining objecting claimants will give their consent and cooperation so that these issues can be resolved. Sarawak deserves a more reliable and modern power supply system that will come with the completion of this crucial state infrastructure project.

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Generating Energy For Sarawak

The State’s vision is to transform Sarawak into a developed state by 2030 with all of the associated benefits for its rakyat – well-paid jobs with first world infrastructure and amenities. The challenge is to make sure that the economic transformation is inclusive of Sarawak’s dispersed heartland rural communities.

In 2008, the government launched SCORE or the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy as a strategic and integrated development plan to benefit all. This multi-agency effort is under the stewardship of RECODA or the Regional Corridor Development Authority.

Sarawak Energy is tasked with developing Sarawak’s hydropower resources for SCORE - generating globally competitively priced, sustainable and renewable energy by harnessing the hydropower potential upstream of Sarawak’s major rivers.

This would fast-track Sarawak’s economic development by attracting foreign and Malaysian investment into the state, creating jobs and local business opportunities. In the process, rural areas would open up with hydropower development.

This development model has been successfully undertaken by countries such as Canada, Austria and Norway where hydropower is a proven catalyst of growth.

The lakes of planned HEP projects will cover less than 2 per cent of the total land area of Sarawak

Power to Grow

State-owned Sarawak Energy is responsible for the overall generation, transmission, distribution and retail of electricity under the guidance of the State Government and operating within the regulatory framework of Ministry of Public Utilities.

Customers are divided into organic customers (domestic householders in rural and urban areas; industrial and commercial customers) and non-organic SCORE and export customers.

Prior to SCORE, Sarawak’s demand merely grew to about 1,000 MW in the past fifty years. With SCORE, demand has taken a huge quantum leap. Within five years from 2010 to 2015, energy demand increased from 1,182 MW to 2,574 MW. About 3,000 MW has been committed to SCORE industries and export customers through 14 agreements.

Projections indicate that by 2020, Sarawak’s energy demand will increase to 4,100 MW, rising to a further 6,500 MW by 2025. To meet demand, the company generates power from Sarawak’s indigenous resources of hydro, coal and gas and supplies electricity to customers through an extensive network system.

To date, Sarawak has a total of three hydroelectric plants (HEP) and five thermal plants. A balanced generation mix is necessary for the effective development of Sarawak’s energy future – while hydro potential is the best option to supply Sarawak’s present and future needs, coal and gas plants are required for energy security.

Providing the bulk power from hydro are the 944 MW Murum HEP which was fully commissioned in June 2015 and the federally-owned 2,400 MW Bakun HEP which Sarawak Energy taps into by purchasing its entire output since its 2011 commissioning.

Towards a more prosperous Sarawak

In addition to meeting the energy needs for traditional organic customers throughout the state, Sarawak Energy has developed its power plants in readiness for bulk energy SCORE customers, working with the government and RECODA to enhance investor confidence in the state’s availability of energy and improve its attractiveness as an investment destination

Recent PPA signing witnessed by the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Minister of Public Utilities and other dignitaries

Transmission towers and lines carry power through the main grid for distribution

Bintulu Combined Cycle Plant

Sarawak Energy technical staff work to ensure smooth operations at the power plants

The 2x300MW Balingian Coal Fired Plant, the first and largest Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) boiler in the ASEAN region will come onstream in 2018, whilst gas from offshore Sarawak will power the high efficiency and low emissions intensity Tanjung Kidurong 400MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) Plants.

At the same time, the state’s transmission system is also being strengthened to adequately transmit the power produced. When completed, the RM2.7 billion 500 kV Transmission Grid will become a second transmission backbone for Sarawak for a more reliable and secure power system.

Point Scored

Hydropower generation development, complemented by thermal power, has paved the way for Sarawak to practise a balanced and sustainable form of development in pursuing industrialisation to achieve the state’s target of developed status by 2030.

The benefits are already accruing:

  • Domestic, commercial and industrial consumers in Sarawak enjoy the lowest tariffs in Malaysia

  • SCORE and export customers have signed up for a committed demand of 3,000 MW bringing in direct and indirect jobs and commercial opportunities

  • Investments inflow, new industries and businesses, transfer of expertise and knowledge - early investors have generated more than 20,000 construction and related jobs, with the second wave of SCORE development expected to create employment opportunities for professionals and skilled workers, and entrepreneurs

  • Fossil fuel dependence has reduced - carbon intensity has come down by 58.7% since 2009

Ecological regeneration taking place at Batang Ai HEP’s lake

Transformational Development Domino Effects

SCORE is expected to spur economic development in rural and urban areas to improve the living standards of every Sarawakian.

The quest for Sarawak’s development has its own particular challenges. As big as the whole of Peninsular Malaysia, a significant portion of the rural population live in villages located along Sarawak’s rivers and highlands and are quite often accessible only by four-wheel drive or several days by boat from the nearest township.

Generation projects under SCORE are already bridging the urban and rural development divide.

The Murum project, Sarawak Energy’s largest construction by far, incorporated a transmission line, township and major access road. Tegulang Resettlement now enjoys 24 hour electricity powered by Murum HEP’s environmental power station. Corporate Social Responsibility projects to elevate literacy levels and provide livelihood opportunities are ongoing.

In Batang Ai and Bakun, infrastructure like roads and utilities has spurred further economic activities including lakeside tourism. There is holistic community development with better healthcare, education, entrepreneurship as well as the preservation of culture and heritage.

Generation projects are being built in Sarawak’s challenging interior to secure a prosperous future for the next generation of Sarawakians, creating opportunities so they don’t have to leave Sarawak to work.

At the same time, our rural communities are also benefiting as employment opportunities outside of urban centres are created so that longhouses and villages remain vibrant heartlands.

Students receive formal education at SK Tegulang, one of the schools at Murum Resettlement

Fish-farming at Batang Ai HEP’s lake contributes to better economic livelihood

Better infrastructure is part of the benefits associated with hydropower development in Sarawak

The State Government, through Sarawak Energy is lighting up communities throughout the state.

Lighting up communities from urban to rural Sarawak

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Welcome To Sarawak Energy


Welcome to Sarawak Energy, the State’s energy provider and socio-economic growth engine.

For more than 100 years, we have been playing the role of an effective local utility company, providing electricity to millions of Sarawakians in the urban, as well as rural areas.

Today, Sarawak Energy is embarking on a programme of massive expansion in support of the State’s economic development strategy, known as the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE). To support the State’s SCORE agenda, Sarawak Energy is committed to harnessing the State’s abundant hydroelectricity resources in a sustainable manner, compliant with Sarawak and Malaysian law, and guided by international best practices.

Sarawak Energy’s projections indicate that by the middle of the next decade, residential, retail and commercial customers in Sarawak will require 2,000 MW, while SCORE customers will consume at least 6,000 MW. The State’s GDP is expected to expand 5-fold by 2030, with approximately 1.6million jobs to be created when SCORE is fully operational. This will result directly in the people of Sarawak enjoying higher incomes and standards of living.

Over the past few years, we have made huge progress on this, such as the signing of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with various international companies from intensive-energy industry, construction of the Murum dam, assuming greater social and environmental responsibilities and achieving significant progress towards the transformation of the company into an agile, modern and commercially-focused corporation.

As we inch closer toward the realisation of the SCORE objectives, it is inevitable that we will also need to confront challenges that test our resolve to develop sustainable energy. Technological advancement and thorough research have been key to propel us forward to where we currently stand, coupled with invaluable industrial expertise and experience.

We will remain committed and true to our cause, answering our calling to energise the growing demand of the State of Sarawak. With the entrance of various energy-intensive industries and foreign investments, Sarawak Energy will continue to enhance its role as the energy provider delivering sufficient clean energy for the State and the surrounding region.