Torrential Rain and Floodwaters Affect Supply to Parts of Sarawak

Sarawak Energy Technical Team & Service Crew Mobilised for Safe Restoration

14 JANUARY 2021

Sarawak Energy is on high alert to restore power as quickly and safely as possible with the ongoing weather conditions causing flooding and outages in many parts of Sarawak.

Technical teams in various districts and divisions are on 24-hour call for immediate mobilisation upon notification. However, fast restoration has been impeded by heavy rainfall and floodwaters creating unsafe working conditions.

Yusri Safri, Sarawak Energy’s Vice President for Distribution highlighted both public safety as well as the safety of the power supply restoration crews over this period.

“Safety is the top priority. Public safety from electrical hazards is a major concern during these wet weather conditions as electricity and water are a dangerous combination. Please comply with all the safety precautions and do stay safe, ” he reminded the public.

“Always assume every fallen power line or electrical pole is energised and do alert Sarawak Energy immediately for assistance,” he continued.

Yusri also explained restoration work could only proceed after the site was safe.

“The team will only begin work when site conditions are safe. The current adverse weather conditions are proving to be a challenge in our efforts to restore supply safely and minimise interruption time. Nevertheless, our technical teams remain on full alert and are ready to be mobilised to restore supply safely in the event of an interruption,” he continued.

On Wednesday night, landslides and floodwaters in southern Sarawak caused supply interruptions in several areas including Kuching, Bau, Padawan and Siburan with restoration hampered by heavy rain.

“We continue to work with the relevant agencies in the event of a landslide when we need to step aside and allow earth clearing works to be completed,” Yusri explained.

A landslide at Bau caused power lines to fall affecting supply at around 11.30pm to villages in Opar, Grogo and Suba Bandar. Replacement works and safe restoration is currently ongoing at press time.

In Padawan, a landslide caused a tree to fall on powerlines affecting supply to a number of villages along Padawan road at around 10.30pm. It was only after earth clearing works by the relevant agencies that Sarawak Energy’s crew was able to start replacement of the electrical poles and conductors to restore supply.

In Siburan, an equipment fault caused a fire at Bandar Baru Siburan substation around 9pm affecting supply to nearby shoplots and Taman Bandar Baru Siburan. The incident required extensive repair works and the rainy weather condition and flash flood delayed progress. Two mobile gensets were deployed at 2am and 11.45am respectively to provide temporary supply to the affected customers.

Meanwhile the team had to perform emergency shutdowns to six substations in Batu Kawa, Bau and in Matu as a safety precaution. The substations inundated by floodwaters are Rantau Panjang Melayu (123 customers), Kpg Segedup (94 customers), Batu Kawa Bridge (94 customers), Kpg Buso (94 customers), Kpg Keranji (29 customers) and Kpg Tian (70 customers). The team will wait for floodwaters to recede before the substations are switched back on.

In Saratok, customers at Alit, Emburuh, Empayang, Kabong toward Paloh-Beting Maro lost power supply when an electrical pole toppled due to strong winds. The team managed to replace the pole and restore supply safely at 8.25pm.

At Roban, strong winds brought down a tree on power lines affecting supply to a wide area including Roban Bazaar. Supply was only restored safely at 9.25pm.

Sarawak Energy has issued safety advisories on electrical hazards during stormy weather and in the event of flooding during which Sarawak Energy will switch off the power supply to substations and other facilities without prior notice. Power supply will only be restored when it is safe to do so.

In the event of a flood, turn off the home supply at the main switchboard at the earliest sign of rising water levels. Also, shut off and move all electrical equipment to an elevated position or area above the anticipated flood level at the earliest sign of rising water levels.

Members of the public are also reminded to be cautious of the dangers of damaged electrical facilities from the recent stormy weather conditions as strong winds can cause electricity poles to break or fall. They must stay clear of fallen power lines as these may still be energised or live, posing a safety hazard.

The technical team can be alerted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by dialling 1300 88 3111 or through the SEB Cares mobile app to report an incident.

Landslide incidents at Padawan and Bau (above) damaging electrical poles and interrupting supply.

Floodwaters affecting substations.

File pic- Stay clear of fallen electrical poles and power lines.

Mobile genset deployed to provide temporary supply to affected customers.