Sarawak Energy Reissues Safety Advisory Following Pasir Pandak Fatality

KUCHING, 3RD MAY 2018, THURSDAY: Sarawak Energy is issuing a reminder of the danger of proximity to electrical facilities following the tragic incident that claimed the life of a suspected cable thief at Kampung Pasir Pandak on Tuesday night.

The individual was discovered trapped on top of an electrical pole and required power to be shut off to Pasir Pandak and the surrounding areas, Semariang and parts of Santubong in order to facilitate his rescue by the Fire and Rescue Department (BOMBA).

Sarawak Energy’s technical team from operations and retail arm Syarikat SESCO Berhad (SESCO) were deployed to the scene and shut down power to the area for the rescue operation to be carried out safely.  The individual was taken to Sarawak General Hospital for treatment but later succumbed to his injuries.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the pole’s copper earthing wires were already cut off at the scene at time of discovery. Also found at the scene were tools believed to have been used by the suspect in an attempt to steal cables.

SESCO Chief Executive Officer Lau Kim Swee (刘金瑞) said the latest incident showed that thieves were getting bolder every day, and reiterated the power utility’s safety reminder on the danger of close contact with electrical facilities and equipment.

“Stealing cables is dangerous and can result in electrical flashovers or electrocution, causing serious burns or a tragic loss of lives.  This regretful incident is a tragic example to show potential thieves that it is truly not worth the risk. I would like to remind everyone not to get too close if you are not authorised to do so. The safety clearance from overhead lines is at least 4.6m (15 feet),” he said.

Expressing his concern over the frequency of cable theft cases, Lau added that such cases could lead to tragic outcomes such as the recent incident. In addition to causing inconvenience to the community living in the surrounding area due to power interruptions, cable theft is dangerous to the thieves themselves.

The power utility has recorded more than 500 cases of copper theft since 2015, despite an annual expenditure of over RM1 million in mitigation measures. In the past three years, cable theft alone has resulted in losses of nearly RM7 million for the company.

“Sarawak Energy’s mission is to deliver reliable, secure electricity supply to our customers throughout Sarawak. In doing this, we ask for the public's continuous assistance and cooperation – please report any suspicious activities near electrical facilities. Your prompt action will help us to curb this dangerous crime.”

“Sarawak Energy will continue to work closely with the police, increase our site patrols and harden the targets such as reinforcing security measures at our substations and facilities,” Lau concluded.

The public can contact Sarawak Energy’s 24-hour Customer Care Centre at 1300-88-3111, which operates 7 days a week or immediately call the nearest police station.  Reports can also be logged into SEBcares, Sarawak Energy’s mobile app

Destruction of property to steal copper - A transformer in Assar Senari.

 Vandalised transformer in Bintulu

Copper cables found at a recycling center near Samarahan during Ops Lusuh, a joint operation with PDRM last year.

Damaged cables at Bulatan Kipali in Kuching due to attempted theft, causing a power interruption in Matang and its surrounding areas, up to Santubong.

Damaged equipment due to cable theft.