News & Updates
Wildlife Using Overhead Lines Common Cause Of Rural Outages
Power lines traversing through forests, farms and plantations vulnerable to disturbance
KUCHING, WEDNESDAY, 15 APRIL 2020 – Sarawak Energy’s operations arm remains vigilant in caring for the condition of its electricity infrastructure and equipment with timely scheduled maintenance works to ensure continuous and reliable power supply for rural areas.
However, to reach households across the state, Sarawak’s transmission and distribution powerlines run a great distance alongside or through forests, farms and plantations. This have brought about a different challenge caused by wildlife.
Wildlife disturbances contribute significantly to the number of power supply trips in rural areas. Since January this year, Sarawak Energy’s Central Region along covering Sibu and its surrounding areas have recorded 19 cases of wildlife presence on powerlines. Customers in Mukah, Dalat, Matu, Bintangor and Sarikei have experienced outages as a result of this unique factor.
On 30 March, customers in Dalat and parts of Judan experienced power interruption at 12.48pm. The technical team traced the source of the problem to an electrocuted monkey when they found its carcass on one of the power poles. Supply to the affected area was fully restored at 1.34pm.
On 27 March at about 6pm, a troop of monkeys perching on high voltage overhead lines of Matu-Daro also caused a power interruption affecting supply to villages in the area. About 1100 customers in Kampung Tian, Kampung Berjaya, Kampung Sekaan Kecil, Kampung Sekaan Besar, Matu Bazaar, Kampung Sok and Kampung Jemoreng were affected. Power supply to the affected areas was fully restored twenty at 6.18pm, about 20 minutes later.
“Disturbance caused by wildlife is one of the challenges faced by our operations team when serving the rural areas and the interior. While we can immediately deploy a technical team to restore supply to our customers after a tripping incident, it is unfortunate to see these animals electrocuted by the high voltage,” said Yusri Safri, Sarawak Energy Vice-President for Distribution.
“We are looking into ways to mitigate the situation including changing from bare conductors to covered conductors, but this will be carried out in phases. This will reduce animal related outage incidents and is also a sustainable approach to wildlife management in these areas,” he explained.
He added that before a line is re-energised, the technical team needs to patrol the affected lines to ensure all safety precautions are considered, which includes the possibility of fallen lines or poles along the stretch.
“It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of everyone near our electrical facilities and we take this very seriously. For longer overhead lines, it might take some time to patrol especially when it happens at night, under extreme weather or areas with difficult terrain. I hope customers can understand the challenges we faced. Nevertheless, we are still committed to do our best to minimise the interruption time,” assured Yusri.
Customers can contact Sarawak Energy's 24/7 Customer Care Centre at 1300-88-3111 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. Outages can also be reported through Sarawak Energy’s mobile app “SEB cares”, available on Android’s Google Play Store as well as Apple App Store for IOS.
A troop of monkeys congregating along the Matu and the 33/11 Daro Substation overhead lines
A monkey found on the 11kV overhead line near Sg Selidap in Bintangor
Animal carcasses found near electrical installation after power trip incidents were reported