Third Party Excavation Works Severely Damages Underground Power Cable Causing Kapit Outage

Sarawak Energy technical team achieves safe restoration

KUCHING, 2ND MAY 2018, WEDNESDAY: Work to restore electricity supply to major parts of Kapit continued until late following loss of supply to about 5,500 customers after excavation works by a private contractor severely damaged an underground cable located at Jalan Selirik, Kapit.  Areas affected were Kapit town, Jalan Selirik, Jalan Melekun and Jalan Ulu Sg Kapit. Sarawak Energy will charge the contractor for all the damages incurred and will look into the possibility of taking legal action against them.   

Sarawak Energy deployed a technical team from Sibu to repair the damaged cable. While repair works were ongoing, gensets at the Kapit power station were activated which partially restored supply to the affected areas at about 11.30 am this morning.

Group Chief Operating Officer Lu Yew Hung (卢友云) said, “We truly regret the inconveniences caused to our customers in Kapit. Works contractors must be careful, especially when undertaking any excavation work near power facilities.

“This is not the first time that excavation works have damaged underground cables despite our constant reminders that contractors must take precautionary measures before proceeding with works at locations where there are overhead and underground power lines running through.”  

“Check the cable route with us, make sure everything is safe and follow the guidelines – do not assume the location or depth of the underground cable. Taking these basic precautionary measures will avoid damaging the cables and causing power outages to our customers. This will also ensure the safety of the contractors and their workers – we do not want anybody to get needlessly hurt. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that everybody goes home safely,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Energy continues to work on delivering reliable supply for Sarawak and is in the midst of reinforcement works to strengthen the supply network at Kapit.

Lu said, “We are strengthening reliability of power supply and providing additional supply capacity to cater for Kapit’s growing demand by undertaking major reinforcement works costing approximately RM180 million over the next 3 years. “
“Immediate works in progress is the laying of a second underground cable from the existing Kapit substation (132/33kv) to Kapit Power Station, scheduled for completion by the end of this year. The project includes the installation of a 5MVA transformer.  This will reinforce the reliability of supply for Kapit town.”

“We are also constructing a new substation (Selirik 33/11kV Substation) which is scheduled for completion by 2020.  This RM20 million investment is aimed to further enhance reliability for the whole of Kapit. We are also constructing a new 33KV overhead lines from Kapit to Baleh which is scheduled for completion in 2021. When Baleh Hydroelectric Plant is commissioned in 2025, this new line will provide a third source of power supply to Kapit town.

“In our mission to deliver reliable, secure power supply throughout Sarawak, we often encounter challenges such as damaged equipment as a result of careless contractors and cable theft, as well as blocked access to project sites by land claimants,” he continued.

Sarawak Energy has issued advisories and reminders through print media, radio campaigns, exhibitions and other outreach programmes to educate stakeholders and the public on the impact of delays caused by wayleave issues other than vandalism and copper theft affecting electrical infrastructure and facilities.

Repair works in progress by Sarawak Energy technical team