News & Updates

Damaged Underground Cable By Third-Party Excavation Cause Of Outage At Matang And Surrounding Areas

Contractors Advised to be Careful During Works to Prevent Any Inconvenience to the Public


29 MARCH 2022

Excavation works done without proper planning and coordination continue to be a cause of electricity supply interruptions regardless of Sarawak Energy’s continuous efforts to remind third-party contractors to check with the utility company on underground cable routes before commencing works.

Despite multiple warnings and hefty penalties imposed, some of the contractors have remained careless, with their negligence leading to underground cable being damaged which causes inconvenience to affected residences.

On 24 March, a third-party contractor damaged an 11kV underground cable while carrying out excavation works, disrupting electricity supply to Matang, 8th Mile, 9th Mile and surrounding areas at 5.30 pm.

Sarawak Energy immediately deployed its technical team and successfully restored supply to approximately 1,100 affected customers within two hours.

Cable repair works commenced immediately and was successfully completed around 5 am the next morning. The contractor was issued a warning letter and a stop-work order. The Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication Sarawak, Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and the project owner were also notified accordingly for further action. As per process, Sarawak Energy will bill the contractor for the repair cost.

Sarawak Energy’s Regional Manager for Western Region Choo Min Chong urged contactors to closely monitor work at site to ensure their workers were proceeding with excavation works away from the cable route. He said it was their responsibility to avoid damaging the supply lines and more importantly to keep their workers safe from risk of electrocution.

“We have been communicating time and time again on how important it is to check with us the cable route first before proceeding with works, yet we still get incidences of contractors disregarding all the precautions. Some have received warning letters and even faced penalties for their careless works. This is totally unacceptable.”

“Aside from supply interruptions, I would like to point out that coming in contact with any of our cables is a safety hazard which may result in injuries caused by electrocution and even loss of lives. Please do not take this lightly. At the end of the day, we want to protect the safety of their workers and the public so that everyone goes home safely,” said Choo.

Since 2020, Sarawak Energy incurred approximately RM2.1 million in losses from more than 430 cases of damaged electrical facilities contributed by third-party excavations alone. In 2022, a total of 43 cases were reported so far, incurring damages amounting to RM107,000. The contractors involved will be held accountable for all cost for repairs and revenue loss due to the damage.

Sarawak Energy will continue to issue warning letters and stop-work orders to any contractors breaching safety standards when working near live electric cables. These letters are also copied to the relevant authorities so that contractors make safety their top priority when carrying out excavation works.

All contractors are reminded to call and check with Sarawak Energy before proceeding with construction or excavation works in the vicinity to avoid damaging underground cables and causing unnecessary supply interruptions as well as to protect the safety of their workers and the public.

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 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

Excavation site with damaged 11kV underground cable (circled in red) affecting supply to Matang and nearby areas

Damaged underground cable (circled in red) caused by third party excavation