Tuesday, November 12

Bushfires put electrical facilities at risk, jeopardise public safety

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A bushfire at Engkilili transmission lines caused power interruptions to some parts of Kuching on Aug 15 last year.

KUCHING: The current dry spell being experienced in Sarawak and seasonal open burning activities are increasing the incidence of bushfires, putting electrical facilities at risk and jeopardising public safety.

Sarawak Energy is asking for public cooperation not to carry out open burning activities near power facilities such as transmission towers and lines, power poles, overhead lines, substations and other related facilities.

These activities can compromise the safety of workers and nearby communities as well as the facilities, and affect power supply reliability.

Sarawak Energy’s utility arm, Syarikat Sesco Berhad (Sesco) chief executive officer Lau Kim Swee said that extensive damage to critical facilities such as transmission lines and substations could cause prolonged power interruptions.

“We are monitoring the occurrences of bushfires near our facilities very closely in view of the current dry spell. It is worrying that this month alone, there have been more than 200 hotspots identified throughout Sarawak,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He added that Sesco was also working together with the relevant agencies to ensure the facilities were safe and electricity supply not compromised.

“We do not want to have another incident that jeopardises the safety of the facility and causes loss of supply like the incidents in Kapit and Simunjan last year,” he added.

In August last year, a bushfire underneath the 275kV Mambong-Engkilili transmission line in Simunjan affected supply to Kuching. That same dry month, a bushfire almost reached the Kapit 132kV Substation before being brought under control by firefighters.

Members of the public who spot open burning activities and bushfires are asked to report the incident to the relevant authorities immediately before the situation worsens. The public can also call Sarawak Energy Customer Care Centre at 1300-88-3111 for incidents near its electrical facilities.