Ten Remote Villages in Tatau Lighted Up with Renewable Solar Energy

Ministry of Utilities, Sarawak Energy and village communities to work together in community based SARES programme to light up rural Sarawak

BINTULU, 21 AUGUST 2018, TUESDAY: Almost 1,200 residents from 204 households in 10 longhouses including Rumah Malo, Rumah Sekaya, Rumah Samun, Rumah Kanyan, Rumah Nyuan, Rumah Lasok, Rumah Billy, Rumah Layang, Rumah Sylvester Bunsu and Rumah Sujang in Tatau now have access to reliable and renewable 24-hour electricity supply under Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES).

Under the community-based SARES programme, the Ministry of Utilities, Sarawak Energy and these ten remote communities from Tatau area worked together to build solar systems for their respective villages, chosen due to the challenge of connecting them to the grid.

A handover ceremony was held in Tatau District Office today to commemorate the completion of the projects and the lighting up of the 10 villages.

Dr Haji Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Assistant Minister for Electricity under the Ministry of Utilities and Pantai Damai Assemblyman, officiated at the event with Datuk John Sikie Tayai, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister's Office for Native Laws and Customs, and Kakus State Assemblyman in attendance.

Also in attendance were Syed Fauzi Shahab, Director of Electricity Supply, Ministry of Utilities and representatives from relevant agencies and community leaders.

Representing Sarawak Energy was Yong Hua Keh, Regional Manager for Bintulu.

The RM500mil SARES programme aims to electrify 8,700 households overall by 2020, located in remote areas including Ulu Skrang, Katibas, Nanga Merit, Bukit Mabong, Tinjar, Long Bedian, Telang Usan, Bario, Julau, Tatau, Sungai Gaat, Sungai Pila and Medamit.

Each project involves the construction of standalone alternative systems, utilising micro-hydro or solar technologies.

Since its launch in 2016, 2,600 households in 106 villages previously powered through diesel fueled generator sets now have their basic household electricity needs with lighting, fans, a television, a freezer and a cooker met through SARES.

Under SARES, communities take ownership of the systems and do not have to pay for the electricity that they consume and are no longer wholly dependent on diesel.

Sharbini Suhaili, Sarawak Energy Group Chief Executive Officer said in commenting on the initiative, "In addition to the cooperation of the communities themselves, the successful implementation of SARES is possible due to the hard work and dedication of all other partners involved including our SARES team."

“Apart from ensuring that the projects are completed and implemented, they provide continuous technical support while providing training to our most remote local communities to ensure the sustainability of the SARES systems,” he continued.

SARES is part of an integrated Rural Electrification Master Plan which was formulated in 2015 to electrify about 30,000 rural households in the state, with the objective of propelling Sarawak towards achieving full electrification by 2025.

Rural electrification in Malaysia began to accelerate in 2009 when it was made a National Key Result Area (NKRA) by the Federal Government.

YB Dr Haji Abdul Rahman (centre) and YB Datuk John Sikie Tayai (8th from left) pose for a photograph with the community leaders from the 10 longhouses.

YB Dr Haji Abdul Rahman symbolically handing over the SARES key to one of the community leaders while YB Datuk John Sikie Tayai looks on.