Underground Cable Damage Cause Of Hours Of Power Disruption For Thousands

Third party contractors once again reminded to check with Sarawak Energy before carrying out excavation works


7 JANUARY 2023

Roadwork contractors caused inconvenience to thousands of customers of Sarawak Energy by neglecting to check with the power utility before digging. Over 220 reports of power outages caused by excavation works were reported in 2022. 

In Miri, more than 2,000 residents in the Lambir, Bekenu, Bakong and Niah areas experienced hours of power disruption due to damage to Sarawak Energy’s electrical facilities on 29 December 2022. Rectification and supply restoration by Sarawak Energy’s technical team required four hours while repair works on the damaged cables continued to the next day. 

Checks revealed that the utility’s 33kV underground cables were damaged by excavation works conducted in Bukit Song by a contractor involved in the Pan Borneo highway project. 

This was the third such incident to occur in Sarawak in December alone. 

In Kuching, some 1,000 customers of Jalan Matang and Malihah in Kuching were affected by a two-hour outage, after a third-party contractor damaged Sarawak Energy’s 11kV underground cables whilst excavating on 7 December. 

In Lundu, excavation works in Kampung Paon by a Pan Borneo highway contractor damaged Sarawak Energy’s 33kV underground cables on 17 December. This caused more than 1,200 customers of Sematan, Biawak, Kampung Telok Melano and Kampung Telok Serabang to be without electricity supply, with some areas experiencing up to 12 hours of outage. 

These cases of damaged electrical facilities by third-party excavations have cost Sarawak Energy losses of more than RM570,000. 

Sarawak Energy once again reminds all contractors to check with the utility company before starting excavation works. These occurrences could have been avoided if the contractors took heed of Sarawak Energy’s reminders and had worked closely with the utility’s technical team. 

Sarawak Energy will not hesitate to take legal action against those found damaging its facilities to make them accountable for repair costs and revenue losses. 

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 near high-tension cables or other electrical infrastructure to ensure the safety 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 at Bukit Song in Miri by third party contractors led to hours of power outage in Lambir, Bekenu, Bakong and Niah