Another Outage Due to Underground Cable Damage Caused by Third Party Excavations

Sarawak Energy Once Again Urges All Contractors to ‘Call Before You Dig’


20 DECEMBER 2022

As reports of damaged electrical facilities caused by excavations continue to be rampant, Sarawak Energy is once again calling all contractors to check with the utility provider before starting work.

In just a space of over a week, Sarawak Energy received yet another report of an electricity outage caused by excavation works, this time by a contractor involved in the Pan Borneo Highway project, which resulted in damage to the utility’s 33kV underground cables near Kampung Paon, Lundu.

The damage caused more than 1,200 residents of Sematan, Biawak, Kampung Telok Melano and Kampung Telok Serabang to be without electricity supply on 17 December 2022.

Upon receiving a report, Sarawak Energy immediately deployed its technical team for rectification and supply could only be restored to customers at Sematan and Biawak at around 4pm via an alternate supply source.

However, residents of Kampung Telok Melano and Kampung Telok Serabang had to live without electricity for more than 12 hours until repair works to the faulty cable was completed at 11:54pm that night.

This is the second incident this month, following a similar case in the Matang-Malihah area which occurred on 7 December.

Excavations remain a common cause of electricity supply interruptions due to a lack of proper planning and coordination by contractors. All contractors are urged to check with Sarawak Energy on underground cable routes before commencing works.

This year alone, Sarawak Energy has recorded more than 220 cases of damaged electrical facilities contributed by third-party excavations. These led to losses worth more than RM570,000.

To avoid these incidents from remaining unchecked, Sarawak Energy will not hesitate to take legal action against those found damaging its facilities, including underground cables.

Sarawak Energy will also look to bring these perpetrators to court for the recovery of cable cost, repairs, revenue loss and in certain instances, it will apply for criminal prosecution to be instituted.

Meanwhile, relevant parties such as the Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication Sarawak, Department of Occupational Safety and Health and the project owner have been notified of these incidents for their awareness and subsequent action.

Sarawak Energy reminds all contractors to monitor site work and ensure their workers conduct excavations away from cable routes. This is critical, as coming into contact with live electrical cables is a safety hazard which may result in electrocution injuries or deaths.

Sarawak Energy will continue to issue warning letters and stop-work orders to contractors breaching safety standards when working near live electric cables. These letters will also be copied to the relevant authorities.

Contractors are also 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 cables or other electrical infrastructure to ensure the safety and health of all persons involved.

To notify of works near electrical infrastructure requiring Sarawak Energy’s technical advice, contractors may contact Sarawak Energy's 24/7 Customer Care Centre at 1300-88-3111 or email

Damaged underground cable caused by excavation works by third party contractors led to hours of power outage at Sematan areas