BINTULU: Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares) has helped to accelerate electricity coverage in Sarawak by about 5,000 households from 192 remote villages since its launch in 2016.
Sares, a government-community partnership utilising renewable off-grid solutions to light up Sarawak’s most remote communities, is one of several initiatives under a masterplan, which is driven and funded by the Sarawak government through the Ministry of Utilities, and implemented by Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB).
Through Sares, it is expected that households in remote villages would be provided with either solar or micro-hydro solution in the next two to five years.
Just recently, it was extended to 125 households from eight longhouses in Tatau, providing the residents with 24-hour electricity.
The eight longhouses are Rumah Robert, Ng Segun (14 households), Rumah Edwin, Ng Belungai (36 households), Rh Degom, Ng Puti (17 households), Rumah Ta’a, Ng Seda (14 households), Rumah Linggie, Ng Sikit (19 households), Rumah Paren, Sg Meruyau (9 households), Rumah Gerunsin, Sg Jambu (6 households), Rumah Ghani, Batu Anap (10 households).
Assistant Minister of |Utilities (Rural Electricity) Datuk Liwan Lagang officiated at the handing-over ceremony held at Rumah Robert Ng Segun, Ulu Kakus, Tatau on Wednesday.
Sares has already powered up 39 remote villages and longhouses in Bintulu Division.
By next year, another 102 households from four longhouses will have access to 24-hour reliable and renewable electricity supply through Sares.
The four longhouses are Rumah Lawai Chukai (Sg Sujan), Rumah Nompang (Sg Sujan), Rumah Palos (Sebauh), and Rumah Elwin Ugan (Sebauh).
In his speech at the event, Liwan said the Accelerated Rural Electrification Masterplan is aimed at expediting full electricity coverage in Sarawak by 2025 through a mix of strategies.
They include expanding the grid by extending transmission and distribution infrastructure as well as lighting up remote communities through off-grid solutions.
“The Ministry of Utilities and SEB continue to work closely to expedite efforts through an allocation of RM2.37 billion which has been approved for the 2019-2020 period to accelerate rural electrification coverage to 97 per cent by 2020 and full electrification by 2025,” he said.
Meanwhile, SEB Group chief operating officer Lu Yew Hung said Sares involves the community from planning through to implementation.
“Sares team continues to provide technical support and train the beneficiary communities to operate and maintain the system.
“If any major work is required, the team will be deployed to handle the issue and to ensure reliable supply to the residents.
“These remote communities will eventually be connected to the main grid when road infrastructure is developed but in the meantime, Sares serves as a reliable system that meets the basic needs of remote households in Sarawak” Lu added.
Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Native Laws and Customs) and Kakus assemblyman Datuk John Sikie Tayai and SEB (Sares manager) Christopher Wesley Ajan were among those present at the function.