Sunday, September 20

Villagers want solar power system repaired

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The solar panels no longer supply 24-hour electricity to Long Semadoh Naseb.

MIRI: Residents of Long Semadoh Naseb in Lawas are appealing to the authorities concerned to repair their 24-hour hybrid solar power system, which broke down almost two months ago.

Villager Patrick Sultan said one backup generator set, which should turn on automatically should the solar power supply malfunction or drop off is also not working.

“Now we rely on the only generator set, which needs to be turned on manually at 6pm till dawn every day. I am worried if the only generator set left also breaks down,” he said in an interview.

Previously, the villagers depended on their own generator sets and had to spend up to RM300 per month on fuel and maintenance costs.

Sinau Liling

“Our generator set runs after 6pm for about four hours every day. This is far too much for us to bear and seems we are now turning back to square one,” he said.

Sinau Liling, who operates a small shop, complained that the break down is affecting business.

“I cannot supply my frozen products to the villagers, especially to my regular customers from the neighbouring villages as well.The inconsistency of the power supply might cause damage to my refrigerator or my other cooling box which also could happen to the others.

“We cannot afford to buy a new replacement. This is a very high cost. We also paid our electricity bill as required but now what happened? Are we being neglected?” he questioned.

Edwin Pengiran said he worried about his elderly father moving about without lights at night and the latter’s inability to turn on their generator set.

“We urge the relevant authorities, a good contractor or the caretaker, to come forward and rectify this issue as soon as possible. Regular checks with proper maintenance for this hybrid solar power system is a must-do actually.

Patrick points to the malfunctioned hybrid solar power system.

“We feel this is unfair and I am very upset about this very unfortunate situation, and we hope that it won’t drag on,” he said.

It is understood villagers have filed numerous complaints, but were merely told to be patient.

The hybrid solar power station in Long Sukang and Long Semadoh Naseb was introduced as a pilot project by the federal Ministry of Rural Development in 2011 and took more than two years to complete.

The power station at Long Semadoh Naseb, which consists of 34 houses with some 100 villagers, was commissioned in 2013 and then handed over to Sarawak Energy.