‘Be cautious of damaged electrical facilities’

File photos of electrical poles and downed power lines due to stormy weather.

KUCHING: Downed power lines and fallen electricity poles are among the most common forms of damage caused by the recent adverse weather condition, said Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB).

The state’s sole power provider reminded the public to be cautious of damaged electrical facilities following a storm as fallen poles and power lines might still be energised or live, as well as to make sure not to attempt to move the equipment themselves.

“Wait for our technical team to remove and replace the fallen electricity poles and power lines safely.

“Anyone who encounters fallen electricity pole and power lines should always assume the equipment is energised and immediately alert us for assistance. Make sure not to touch or drive over fallen power lines, and to keep at least 10m away from the site,” it said in a press statement.

SEB said its technical team could be alerted 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1300 88 3111 or through the SEB Cares mobile app to report any incident.

Yusri Safri

Its vice president for distribution Yusri Safri said that wet and windy weather condition is also a challenge in SEB’s effort to restore supply safely and quickly during interruptions.

“Electricity and water don’t mix … so when it comes to safe repair and restoration during rainy weather condition, it will most certainly take a longer time than usual. Safety is our top priority and this means ensuring that the surrounding condition is safe before work can begin or continue,” he said.

He added that the recent stormy weather condition across the state had hampered quick action from the team as heavy rain and lightning are making it unsafe to work.

“When work is done and before a line can be re-energised, the technical team will need to patrol the lines again to ensure it is safe to restore supply. This includes making sure the other poles are in order and there are no fallen lines or any other obstructions along the stretch,” he said.

“We want to ensure our team as well as the public are safe and we ask for patience from affected customers as we safely restore supply,” Yusri said.

In a situation where power lines fall on vehicles, SEB advised the public to be aware of the following:

•      Remain inside the vehicle until help arrives and alert others so as to keep clear and not to touch the vehicle.

•      If you must leave the vehicle due to other dangers such as fire, jump away from the vehicle so that you do not touch the vehicle and try to land with both feet on the ground at the same time. Continue to keep your feet together at all times on the ground and shuffle at least 10m away from the site.

•      Do not walk or run — it is dangerous to do so. A downed line creates a voltage gradient on the ground surface so walking or running cause your legs to act as a bridge between two areas of different voltages, forming a circuit for electricity to travel. If you continue to keep your feet together, then a circuit can’t be formed for electricity from the ground to travel.