SARES Lights Up 550 Remote Households In Song


With the introduction of the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme or SARES in 2016, Sarawak has accelerated the pace of electrification especially for its most remote areas.

More than 3,100 households from 142 villages in Kapit now have access to 24-hour electricity supply via the SARES initiative as funded by the Sarawak Government through the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak and implemented by Sarawak Energy.

This year, more than 4,500 residents from 550 households in 28 villages in Song, Kapit have been given access to 24-hour renewable electricity under SARES. At a ceremony held at Rumah Lucy Matan in Ulu Tekalit Song to commemorate the completion and commissioning of the solar-powered systems and handover to the beneficiary longhouses, Datuk Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister for Utilities (Rural Electricity) represented Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Minister for Utilities Sarawak.

Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, Malaysia’s Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and Member of Parliament for Kapit, officiated.

Speaking at the event, Alexander said, “Cooperation from the rakyat is vital in boosting development in Sarawak’s rural areas. I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak, Sarawak Energy and the 28 villages involved for the successful planning, implementation and collaboration in this SARES project,” he said.

He was joined by representatives from relevant agencies and community leaders.

Sarawak Energy was represented by Dr Chen Shiun, Vice President for Rural Electrification and the SARES team.

Liwan said, “The Sarawak Government is committed to improving the standard and quality of peoples’ lives by ensuring they have reliable access to basic necessities like electricity. The Ministry of Utilities and Sarawak Energy continue to work closely to expedite efforts to provide 24-hr electricity to our kampong folk regardless of how remote their villages are located.”

In 2009, Sarawak’s rural electricity coverage was just 56%, and grew to 93% by 2019 under various rural electrification initiatives. Under the Accelerated Rural Electrification Masterplan, the Sarawak Government allocated RM 2.37 billion to further speed up electrification for the remaining 7% which consists of about 22360 households. An initiative under the masterplan, SARES provides households in remote villages too distant to be grid-connected with either solar or micro-hydro solutions.

With SARES, each household is allotted 3000Wh daily, replacing noisy and expensive diesel generator sets with limited running hours.

Dr. Chen Shiun, Sarawak Energy Vice President for Rural Electrification (8th left) symbolically hands over the solar power system to Tuai Rumah Lucy Matan (5th right) in the presence of Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and Member of Parliament for Kapit, Datuk Alexandrr Nanta Linggi (4th right), Assistant Minister for Rural Electricity Supply Sarawak, Datuk Liwan Ligang (7th left) and the community leaders.

A group photo with the community leaders from the 28 villages powered by SARES holding up the certificates of the handover with the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and Member of Parliament for Kapit, Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi (standing 5th right) Assistant Minister for Rural Electricity, Datuk Liwan Lagang (standing 4th right), Sarawak Energy Vice President for Rural Electrification Dr Chen Shiun and others.