Drilling Works Damage Underground Power Cable In Bintulu

Sarawak Energy technical team work throughout the night to repair and stabilise supply

KUCHING, 16th APRIL 2015, THURSDAY: Some parts of Bintulu town were without power for two hours yesterday to permit repair works being done on a damaged 11KV underground cable.

Drilling works at a traffic light junction nearby the Road Transport Department had apparently hit an underground power line, cutting off power supply to Sebiew area.

To immediately locate the faulty cable and commence repair works, Sarawak Energy had to implement load shedding causing power interruptions of up to two hours in the affected areas.

The load shedding exercise, which is akin to power rationing, began from 8.20pm till 1am and was unavoidable in order to manage the situation.

The areas which had to experience load shed on rotation were Taman Permaisuri area (Pearl Garden, Golden Hill, Tamn Sutera and Taman Sutera 2), Siong Boon area (Mas Damai, Taman Heng, Pine Avenue) and RPR Sebiew 1 (RPR Sebiew 2, Sebiew Industrial 1, Sebiew Industrial 2).

The incident occurred at around 3pm on Tuesday (14th April) but repair works on the underground cable that ran parallel to the road had to be put on hold due to the high passing traffic at the junction. The technical team could only start work at 3pm after seeking assistance from the Bintulu Development Authority, Public Works Department and the Police to regulate traffic flow.

Despite the rain during nightfall, the technical team had to sift through several underground cables about 3m deep to get to the damaged cable. Temporary protection had to be set up at the trench site as there was a risk of soil collapse.

The exact location of the faulty cable was only discovered at 8.41pm. Repair on the last joint of the cable was completed at around 4am and this stabilised supply to the affected areas. The team worked through the night and finished only at 6.44am.

Earlier after assessing the situation, Sarawak Energy made an urgent announcement yesterday evening via radio and social media platforms to notify the public on the possibility of a two-hour load shedding.

Sarawak Energy Chief Operating Officer Lu Yew Hung reiterated a reminder to contractors to be more vigilant when doing excavation or drilling.

“We constantly remind contractors to be careful and always check with us on the cable route before digging. They should not assume the location or depth of the underground cable.

“Not only will this avoid damaging the cables and causing inconvenience of a power outage to our customers, it is also to protect the safety of contractors and their workers. Safety is what we are most concerned off,” he said.

This is not the first time Sarawak Energy had to deal with damaged cables resulting from excavation works. The most recent case took place in Miri late January in which underground cables were damaged during excavation work by a utility contractor. It left residents in Desa Bahagia and Vista Perdana without electricity for over 24 hours.

Sarawak Energy technical team work through the night to fix the damaged cable and stabilise supply.

Sarawak Energy technical team work through the night to fix the damaged cable and stabilise supply.