Sarawak Energy Reminds Contractors to Focus on Safety During Excavation Works

Outage in Mukah Caused by Excavator Contact with High Voltage Overhead Line

KUCHING, 6 November 2019, Wednesday: Sarawak Energy continues to remind all contractors to be careful during excavation works near power lines to avoid damaging electrical facilities which could lead to power supply interruptions and jeopardise safety.

Contractors are also strongly advised to work closely with Sarawak Energy in planning consultation and precautionary actions when working close to electrical facilities to avoid any untoward incidents.

Sarawak Energy's utility subsidiary, Syarikat SESCO Berhad (SESCO) has been proactively raising safety awareness to the public through local newspapers and engaging relevant third-party contractors on safe work practices near electrical facilities. Despite these initiatives, safety incidents and unplanned supply interruptions continue to happen.

The utility has recorded a total of 450 cases of damaged electrical facilities since 2016. These incidents are mostly caused by third party contractor negligence and have incurred damages of more than RM3 million. This year alone, 141 cases have been recorded with damages costing Sarawak Energy close to RM805,000.

Last week, an excavator belonging to a contractor came into contact with a 33kV power line while carrying out excavation works at Jalan Bukut in Mukah. This incident caused a power interruption at Bukut Coal Plant, Balingian Energy Mineral (BEM) and several longhouses near the vicinity, affecting an estimated 100 customers for approximately two hours. The contractor was issued a stern warning and stop-work order.

SESCO’s Chief Executive Officer Lau Kim Swee (刘金瑞) said that the incident has inconvenienced customers and reminded contractors to be aware of the consequences when working near power lines.

“Contractors must have basic precautionary measures in place for their workers as they are exposed to the dangers of working near power lines. There have been cases of fatalities involving contractor staff and this is unacceptable. At the end of the day, we want everyone to go home safely and this is why we are focused on safety as our priority,” said Lau.

Any third-party contractor breaching safety standards when working near live electric cables will be issued with warning letters and stop-work orders by Sarawak Energy. These letters are also copied to the Electrical Inspectorate Unit (EIU) under the Ministry of Utilities, Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and the project owner to ensure the contractors take safety seriously.

Contractors are urged to comply with the Electricity Ordinance, the Electricity Rules 1999 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 when carrying out works within the vicinity of high-tension cable or other electrical infrastructure to ensure the safety and health of all persons involved.

The basic electrical safety guideline when working close to electrical installations is to keep at least 15 feet or five meters away from power lines.

Contractors may contact Sarawak Energy's 24/7 Call Centre at 1300-88-3111 or email to notify on works near electrical infrastructure requiring Sarawak Energy’s technical advice.

Contractor’s excavator arm touching the overhead line at Jalan Bukut (circled in red)