Strictly No Open Burning Near Sarawak Energy Power Facilities

KUCHING, 19 AUGUST 2018, SUNDAY: Sarawak Energy is warning those causing fires through indiscriminate and illegal openburning near power facilities to be prepared for strict enforcement as their dangerous activities are compromising the operations and safety of the facilities. The fires can trigger supply interruptions and endanger workers and communities within the surrounding areas.

Sarawak Energy’s Group Chief Executive Officer Sharbini Suhaili said such acts were intolerable as they could compromise the operations and safety of the state’s electrical facilities.

“Extensive damage to critical facilities such as transmission lines and substations can cause prolonged power interruptions. There have been frequent open burning activities and fires near our electrical facilities lately and some have affected the operations, compromising safety and resulting in loss of supply,” said Sharbini.

The hot and dry weather has seen an increase in open burning activities detected near Sarawak Energy’s electrical facilities, threatening operations and leading to outages. Three cases recorded in August alone have affected different parts of the state in Simunjan, Sarikei and Kapit.

On 15 August, opening burning activities near transmission lines at Sabal, Simunjan caused the 275kV Mambong – Engkilili lines to trip at 3.08pm, causing loss of supply to some parts of Kuching.

“This could have caused a major interruption in Kuching. We are fortunate that with the protection system in place and our newly commissioned second transmission backbone grid, our technical team managed to minimise the number of affected areas and fully restore supply within 30 minutes,” said Sharbini.

A similar incident happened on the same day in Sarikei near the Sarikei-Tanjung Manis 132kV transmission tower. However, swift action by the Fire and Rescue Department managed to prevent the fire from damaging the system.

On 9 August in Kapit, quick action by the Fire and Rescue Department also brought a fire near the Kapit 132/33kV Substation under control.

“Our Operations team is monitoring occurrences of fire near our facilities and we are working closely with the relevant agencies to ensure the facilities are safe and the operations are not compromised,” Sharbini added.

High heat from fires caused by open burning can affect crucial electrical infrastructure such as transmission towers and lines, power poles, overhead lines, substations and other related facilities leading to power interruptions.

“We should not tolerate these dangerous acts, and will assist Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) to monitor activities near our facilities. We will also not hesitate to report those discovered causing these dangerous fires,” he emphasised, adding that Sarawak Energy is continuing to monitor the situation and working closely with the relevant authorities.

In a recent statement from NREB on the rise of the Air Pollution Index (API) due to opening burning, the state agency stated that those found guilty of conducting illegal open burning could be fined up to RM30, 000.

Sarawak Energy also urges the public to report any open burning activity to the relevant authorities to prevent any untoward incident that could cause public inconvenience. The public can also call Sarawak Energy Customer Care Centre at 1300 88 3111.

Open burning near the 275kV Mambong – Engkilili transmission lines on 15 Aug caused power interruptions to some parts of Kuching.

Open burning near Sarikei-Tanjung Manis 132kV transmission tower

Fire & Rescue Department controlling the fire from reaching Kapit substation