Urgent Completion Of 500kV 2nd Backbone Transmission Grid Crucial For A More Reliable And Modern Power Supply System In The State

KUCHING, THURSDAY, 25TH FEBRUARY 2016: Sarawak Energy appeals to Sarawakians across the state for their cooperation and understanding to support the mission to complete the critical parts of the 500kV  Backbone Transmission project by middle of this year.

The urgent completion of the critical packages of this state infrastructure project is crucial to strengthen power system security and minimise the risk of major blackouts such as what happened in November and January recently.

Sarawak Energy embarked on this massive RM2.7 billion infrastructure upgrading project in October 2013 as a second transmission backbone running parallel to the present 275kV Transmission Grid.  The project was supposed to be completed by end 2015, but has encountered delays due to wayleave issues.

In recognition of the urgency and criticality of this state infrastructure project, the State Government has established a multi-agency task force to coordinate and tackle the issues.

Group CEO of Sarawak Energy, Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit expressed his concerns during a press conference at Menara Sarawak Energy today on the challenges faced by the utility  that have hampered the timely completion  of the critical parts of the project.   

“With these critical parts of the project not progressing, we are at risk of suffering at least two to three major outages a year.  It is absolutely essential that we get this done with the support of all Sarawakians,” said Sjotveit.   

The two major outages that occurred in November and January recently, caused by double circuit tripping on the present 275kV transmission grid, could have been avoided if the project had not been delayed.

The 500kV Backbone Transmission Grid will enhance system security and reliability by providing an additional two circuits as compared to the two circuits of the existing 275kV transmission grid, for a total of four circuits.

In the event of double circuit tripping of the existing 275kV transmission grid, electricity will still be able to be transmitted from power plants in the northern part of the state to the southern region where the bulk of the population resides.

The overall development of the 500kV Backbone Transmission Grid project comes in 10 construction packages.   

The most critical packages that need to be completed as soon as possible to minimise the risk of major blackouts are:
Package A:   Similajau to Mapai  [Project Progress:  86% ]
Package B:   Mapai to Lachau [Project Progress:  84%]
Package 2:  a 275kV transmission line from Mapai to Oya [Project Progress:  83%]


The three critical packages require rights-of-way to be secured from a total of 2048 land owners for the construction of 994 towers along the transmission line route.   

Numerous consultations, group briefings and engagements were conducted with the affected claimants in the presence of key government agencies and officials on compensation matters. In the negotiation with the claimants, compensation is determined according to Sarawak Energy’s approved rates.  Legal recourse is available in cases where parties disagree.  

Out of this, 2029 of the 2048 claimants have cooperated.  Nineteen claimants objected.

 “This means less than 1% of the affected claimants are delaying the progress of this project including a claimant who is demanding excessive and unreasonable compensation,” said Sjotveit.

The completion of the project is crucial to enhance the reliability and security of the State Grid.  To ensure this, the task force will coordinate multi-agency roles at divisional level in resolving the wayleave issue and if necessary, to carry out site entry enforcement.

“We would like to express our appreciation to the land owners who have given their kind cooperation.  We have appealed to the remaining claimants for their understanding and consent to enable us to proceed with this crucial project,” Sjotveit concluded.