SARES Lights Up 290 Nanga Merit Households


Through the SARES initiative funded by the Sarawak Government via the Ministry of Utilities and implemented by Sarawak Energy, thirteen longhouses in the Nanga Merit subdistrict of Kapit, comprising 290 households, with 2,200 residents now have access to reliable and renewable 24-hour solar-powered electricity.

For Kapit Division, which includes Kapit, Song, Belaga and Bukit Mambong, more than 3,100 households from 142 remote villages, with a total of 24,900 residents now have access to 24-hour free renewable energy supply via SARES. The sub-district of Nanga Merit has a total of 49 villages comprising 1,009 households of almost 8,000 residents.

Nanga Merit is a tributary of the Rejang River and is only accessible by river and timber track road. With longhouses along its banks too distant to be connected to grid electricity, the fastest way to electrify households has been through the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme or SARES.

An event was held at Rumah Entili, located 2 hours by boat from Kapit town, yesterday for the official handover of the newly installed SARES systems from project implementor Sarawak Energy to the 13 beneficiary villages. The event also celebrated the successful completion of their training to perform simple operations and maintenance of the solar system.

The beneficiary villages include Rumah Seking, Rumah Entili, Rumah Anthony Jiram, Rumah Yan Ngumbang, Rumah Wilfred Guyang, Rumah Lawrence Lannie, Rumah Milang, Rumah Berundang, Pekan Nanga Merit, Rumah Ibin, Rumah Rajau, Rumah Sadang and Rumah Julau.

Assistant Minister for Utilities (Rural Electricity), Datuk Liwan Lagang officiated at the event representing Minister of Utilities, Dato Seri Dr. Stephen Rundi Utom. He was joined by Hulu Rajang Member of Parliament, Datuk Wilson Ugak Anak Kumbong, Temenggong Ajang Sirek and representatives from the Ministry of Utilities, relevant agencies and community leaders. Sarawak Energy was represented by Dr. Chen Shiun, Vice President for Rural Electrification and the SARES team.

Liwan said in his speech at the event, “These thirteen villages are very remote without proper road access and it would have taken several more years before we can supply grid-connected electricity supply. However, through SARES, we have been able to make sure reliable and renewable electricity reaches them much earlier. Syabas to all parties involved.”

Liwan congratulated the residents of the thirteen longhouses and advised them to take good care of their newly installed SARES and reassured them that Sarawak Energy would continue to provide technical support after the project’s completion and implementation.

“The SARES system gives our rural folk the same access to electricity that town people have. Although they don’t have to pay electricity bills, they have the responsibility of operating and maintaining the systems themselves. The system displaces noisy diesel generators and provides convenience and ease to the lives of the people here and in many other remote communities of Sarawak. We hope that you will take care of these systems so that they can last many years into the future,” he advised.

The Sarawak Government and the Ministry of Utilities through Sarawak Energy aims to light up about 22,360 rural households in the coming years with reliable 24-hour electricity supply by extending the transmission and distribution infrastructure into more rural areas or providing standalone system solutions such as SARES. Over RM2.37 billion has been allocated from the State Government for electrification projects in these two years towards achieving this.

The SARES system provides 3,000Wh of renewable electricity per day, sufficient to power up a typical rural household’s basic needs such as lighting, fans, television, small refrigerator and rice cooker which allows the communities to reduce the need to travel to town frequently to buy provisions and diesel for their former generator sets.

Assistant Minister for Utilities (Rural Electricity), Datuk Liwan Lagang (5th right) representing the certificate of ownership to representatives of the thirteen villages in Nanga Merit accompanied by Member of Parliament for Hulu Rajang, Datuk Wilson Ugak Anak Kumbong (3rd right) and Sarawak Energy’s Vice President for Rural Electrification, Dr. Chen Shiun (6th right).

Dr. Chen Shiun, Sarawak Energy Vice President for Rural Electrification symbolically hands over the solar power system to Entili Anak Langi, village headman of Rumah Entili in the presence of Assistant Minister for Utilities (Rural Electricity), Datuk Liwan Lagang, Member of Parliament for Hulu Rajang, Datuk Wilson Ugak Anak Kumbong, community leaders and the thirteen village headmen with their certificates of ownership.