Sarawak Energy Conducts Precautionary Briefings To Avoid Damage To River Crossing Transmission Lines

KUCHING, 31 MAY 2016, TUESDAY: Sarawak Energy recently conducted a series of safety briefings for barge operators plying along rivers with crossing transmission lines. The briefings were specifically targeted to timber licensees and contractors with medium and big sizes barges registered under the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

The sessions which were conducted in Bintulu, Sibu and Kuching, aimed as an awareness and precautionary measure to avoid barges with un-lowered crane boom from hitting and damaging transmission lines while cruising along the rivers.  Such incidents could damage the lines, causing major power outage and even fatality.

The briefing, supported by SFC, was initiated following the power outage affecting central and southern parts of the state in January. In the incident, it was suspected that a barge passing underneath the Kemena-Selangau 275kV transmission lines had not lowered its crane boom and may have damaged the overhead lines, resulting in the blackout.

The briefings were conducted by Robert Cheu, Sarawak Energy’s Senior Manager for Transmission Line Operations and attended by representatives from the timber licensees, timber camps and logistics managers as well as contractors and representatives from SFC.

Salient points highlighted in the briefing included safety measures for those working near the vicinity of electrical facility, what to do in the event of contact with power lines and safe navigation under power lines.

The briefing also garnered positive feedback and suggestions from the audience especially on how Sarawak Energy can improve its safety signage for more visibility.

Cheu also shared on Sarawak Energy’s safety improvement plans in regards to the construction and installation of new transmission lines. These new improvements, he said would be incorporated in the construction of the 500kV Backbone Transmission Grid project.  

The RM2.7bil major state infrastructure project is aimed at reinforcing the existing 275kV state power grid and more importantly minimising the risk of major power outages. The backbone transmission lines will run all the way from Similajau in the Northern Region to Tondong in Kuching.

Robert Cheu, Sarawak Energy Senior Manager for Transmission Line Operations, conducting the safety briefing in Bintulu.

Gathering feedback and suggestions during refreshments.

Transmission line route map indicating the whereabouts of the main river crossing transmission lines.