KUCHING, Dec 11 — A three-day power interruption in Bario highland in the deep interior of the Miri Division was traced to an aerial cable which was damaged by a stray bullet, Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) said today.
It said a bullet had damaged the aerial cable about 7km away from the Bario Central Solar Hybrid power station.
“This was discovered when technical teams deployed from Miri surveyed the line route and discovered the damaged cable after ascertaining that the fault was external and not within the power station,” it said in a press statement.
Bario highland, known for its temperate climate, was without electricity from Friday to Sunday afternoon, affecting supply to Kampung Baru, Padang Pasir, Ulung Palang Atas, Ulung Palang Bawah, Pa Ukat, Pa Umor, Arur Dalan, Bario Asal, Arur Layun, Pa Derung, Pa Ramapuh Atas and Pa Ramapuh Bawah.
Commissioned in 2015, the Bario Central Solar Hybrid power plant was built as part of the federal government’s National Key Results Area under the Ministry of Regional and Rural Development.
Following completion, the system was handed over to SEB to manage and operate.
The power plant is designed for a load capacity of 750KW from solar power while current demand in Bario is currently 60KW, leaving ample excess capacity to meet demand growth.
Following the incident, SEB is also ensuring power plant operators at remote power stations are trained for tier one troubleshooting for speedy fault identification and rectification concerning distribution line faults to reduce reliance on technical teams from Miri.
It is also establishing a Go-To team of experts that can be quickly deployed to handle issues such as this in the Central and Northern regions where most remote power stations are located.
In addition, SEB is also looking into reinforcing the protection system of the power plant in Bario so that incidents such as this will not affect the whole power system.
The state-owned power supplier appealed for cooperation from rural communities to ensure that electrical assets are protected for continued supply throughout Sarawak.
“This is even more crucial as the state-owned energy developer and power utility accelerates its rural electrification projects to deliver the State government’s ambition to achieve full electrification for the people,” it said.