16,000 to benefit from power scheme

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KENINGAU: Nearly 700 participants from 53 villages in the district will soon enjoy 24-hour electricity supply under the Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) Assisted Rural Wiring Scheme.

SESB distribution manager Ir Ahmad Fuad Kasim who disclosed this here yesterday, said the interest-free loan scheme was launched in April this year.

The scheme is to help the rural poor who cannot afford to have electricity supply.

“The participants only need to pay by instalments the cost of internal wiring for electricity connection and RM50 for deposit and stamp duty,” he told reporters after a visit to 15 houses undergoing internal wiring at Kampung Bandukan Baru Bingkor here.

Ahmad Fuad said SESB would spend a total of RM8.2 million to connect electricity to the premises of 16,080 users statewide.

He said the scheme was implemented in collaboration with the Sabah Electricity Association.

The participants should pay the cost of internal wiring by instalments for 36 months or at RM14.20 per month for the first six months and RM14.16 for the subsequent months until full settlement.

But it does not include the user’s monthly bill.

“In addition, this scheme consists of the internal wiring works for two lights and one socket for a total wiring cost of RM510 for each house,” he said.

Under this scheme, he said users would not have to wait for long to get power supply because connection was made immediately after the users paid RM50 deposit, including stamp duty and signing of electricity supply agreement with SESB.

Ahmad Fuad said rural people who are interested and eligible to participate in the scheme, should get the Assisted Rural Wiring Scheme forms from their respective Village Development and Security Committees (JKKK) or from the nearest SESB office.

The completed application forms should obtain certification from the district officer or assistant district officer before the district office will forward them to SESB to facilitate internal wiring for the premises of approved applicants.

“Internal wiring works will be implemented in every district throughout the state in stages and are expected to be completed by next year,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bingkor assemblyman Datuk Justin Guka who was also present during the visit to Kampung Bandukan Baru Bingkor, thanked the SESB for initiating the scheme for the poor.

He said most people who were unable to get power supply were privileged to be given interest-free loan by installments.

“I am also asking users to save electricity so that their monthly bill will be RM20 and below for which they do not have to pay for their bill at all,” he said.

At the same time, Justin also urged the government to continue the RM20 subsidy which will expire later this year in view of the fact that the scheme has succeeded in reducing the burden of the rural poor.

He also advised JKKKs to list additional problems faced in application for power lines in their areas by submitting the application to the Bingkor People Development Leader Unit (UPKR) office, to be brought up in the District Energy Action meeting, chaired by the district officer to resolve the problems.

Justin also asked those who still do not have their supply, to be patient as the main problem is the unavailability of electricity poles.

“Maybe, if necessary, I will use my State Assembly fund for the purchase of electricity poles,” he said.

Some villagers who benefitted from the scheme were thankful to SESB.

ARWS participant Ungis Udin, 46, who had waited for over seven years for power supply to his home, said he and his wife and their eight children were grateful to the government, especially SESB for fulfilling his desire to enjoy electricity.

Ungis’ home was the first be installed with internal wiring by staff of SESB yesterday and the family was so proud and happy and that they could not wait much longer for electric lights.

Meanwhile, Kampung Bandukan Baru JKKK chairman Mius Tagar also expressed his satisfaction for the assistance provided to villagers who have not had the supply for years.

“Out of 29 applications, only 15 were approved as their houses would not need new electricity poles,” Mius said.

However, he hoped the government, especially the Bingkor assemblyman, could help the 14 other applicants whose houses need erection of additional electricity poles before power supply could be installed.

According to Mius, there are over 600 residents in the village and most of them already have power supply.