Kota Marudu Member of Parliament

Government launches project to reduce Sabah’s power outage woes

KOTA KINABALU: The government has initiated a special month-long focus group to come up with strategic and practical plans to reduce interruptions to electricity supply in Sabah.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Maximus Ongkili said the “lab” had been tasked with ensuring the state’s system average interruption duration index (Saidi), which indicates power outage in minutes per customer, would be reduced to 100 minutes by 2020.

Dubbed the Sabah Saidi 100 Lab, the project is a joint initiative between the ministry and Pemandu Associates Sdn Bhd, and is aimed at providing quality power generation to Sabahans, he said.

The Kota Marudu MP said Sabah’s Saidi had already recorded a significant drop of 89%, from 2,868 minutes in 2009 to 311 minutes last year.

“We have among the best of brains brainstorming in the lab to identify non-conventional and new ideas to transform the electricity services in Sabah, besides coming up with strategic and practical solutions to permanently overcome problems pertaining to power distribution in Sabah,” Ongkili said.

He said challenges faced in the state included heavy dependence on diesel-powered power plants in the eastern part of Sabah, as well as unstable connecting lines and power distribution.

The state is also afflicted with power theft which contributes to outage, especially in Sandakan and Tawau, and low electricity tariff that does not reflect the actual cost of power supply, he added.

“We need drastic steps and support from the federal and Sabah governments, and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB), if we want to improve these situations,” he said in a statement after launching the lab here today.

Also present at the launch were Deputy Chief Minister Raymond Tan Shu Kiah and Pemandu chief executive officer and president Idris Jala.

Some 50 participants, comprising officers and experts from 17 ministries and departments, the private sector and relevant stakeholders, will be meeting to share ideas including critical input during the month-long lab.

Ongkili also said that to date, some RM17.7 billion had been channelled by the federal government towards improving the electricity supply in Sabah.

“Among them was the setting up of the Sabah Electricity Supply Task Force to carry out upgrading works on the state’s electricity supply, and some RM713 million and RM2.3 billion was allocated under the 10th and 11th Malaysia Plans respectively to carry out the projects,” he said.

He added that RM3.21 billion had been allocated to SESB since 2001 for upgrading of the state’s electricity supply infrastructure, and RM7.1 billion to subsidise fuel for power distribution from 2004 to this year.

Ongkili also said another RM2.63 billion was allocated under the 10th Malaysia Plan and another RM1.768 million under the 11th Malaysia Plan for related development projects.

Source: freemalaysiatoday