Kota Marudu Member of Parliament

Lab launched to solve Sabah electricity woes

Kota Kinabalu: A special lab was launched here Monday to draw strategic and practical plans to ensure Sabah's System Average Interruption Duration Index (Saidi) is reduced to 100 minutes by 2020.

Dubbed the "Sabah Saidi 100 Lab", it is a joint initiative between the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry (KeTTHA) and Pemandu Associates Sdn Bhd (Pemandu) aimed at providing quality power generation to Sabahans.

KeTTHA Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili (pic), when launching the lab, disclosed that to date some RM17.7 billion has been channelled by the Federal Government towards improving electricity supplies in Sabah.

"Among them were 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 were allocated under the 10th and 11th Malaysia Plans, respectively, to carry out the project," he said.

In addition, RM3.21 billion was allocated to the Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd since 2001 towards upgrading the State's electricity supply infrastructure, besides channelling RM7.1 billion to subsidise fuel for power distribution since 2004 to this year.

Ongkili said RM2.63 billion was allocated under the 10th Malaysia Plan through the Rural Urban and Regional Ministry, and another RM1.768 million under the 11th Malaysia Plan for development projects.

He noted that a significant drop on Sabah's Saidi was recorded over the years from 2,868 minutes in 2009 to 311 minutes last year, a drop of 89 per cent.

"Reducing the State's Saidi was not an easy journey, especially with challenges faced such as the heavy dependence on diesel-operated power plants in the eastern part of Sabah; unstable connecting lines and power distribution; power theft which contributes to electricity outage especially in Sandakan and Tawau; and that the low electricity tariff does not reflect the actual cost of power supply.

"We need drastic steps and the support from the Federal and Sabah governments, SESB, if we want to improve this situation.

"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," he said.

Some 50 participants, comprising officers and experts from 17 ministries, departments, private sectors and relevant stakeholders will be sitting down together to share their views and ideas, including critical inputs during the month-long lab.

Also present at the launching were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Raymond Tan Shu Kiah and Pemandu Chief Executive Officer and President Datuk Sri Idris Jala.

Source: dailyexpress