Be cautious, SEB warns contractors

11kV electrical pole damaged by third-party contractor causing a supply interruption in Engkilili.

KUCHING: All contractors are reminded to be cautious during construction works to avoid damaging electrical facilities that could lead to extensive repair works and unnecessary supply interruptions.

This reminder by Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) is in reference to the recent damage done by the Pan Borneo Highway contractor involving a 11kV electrical pole which caused a five-hour outage affecting 500 users in Engkilili and its surrounding areas on June 2.

Western region regional manager Choo Min Chong stated that damaging electrical facilities poses a safety hazard to contractors and their workers as it may result in injuries caused by electrocution and even loss of lives.

“This incident had caused an emergency shutdown to be carried out at 8pm on the same day for repairing works while a mobile genset was deployed to provide temporary supply to Engkilili health facility,” he said.

Meanwhile, he also stated that the contractors at fault were asked to stop work and they will also be issued with warning letters which will be copied to the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak, Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Dosh), relevant agencies and the project owner for further action.

Damaged electrical line gets stuck on a truck belonging to a third-party contractor.

“It is our standard protocol to immediately issue warning letters and stop-work orders as well as giving a safety briefing to contractors whenever a dangerous situation arises on site.

“We want the contractors to take safety seriously while carrying out works near electrical facilities. In all cases where there are damages to the electrical facilities due to their negligence, the contractors shall bear all repair costs. Sarawak Energy will not hesitate to take legal action against the contractors,” Choo added.

Nonetheless, he said, despite continuous reminders and engagements on the importance of electrical safety, cases of supply interruptions caused by construction works by third-party contractors remain frequent, causing inconvenience to the affected customers.

According to him, since 2019, a total of 400 cases of electrical facility damages had been reported, with damages costing Sarawak Energy more than RM2 million.

“This year alone, 71 cases have been reported so far, incurring damages worth more than RM400,000. The contractors behind the damages will be held liable for the repair costs and revenue loss,” he stressed.

He noted that contractors are urged to comply with the Electricity Ordinance, the Electricity Rules 1999, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 when carrying out works within the vicinity of high-tension cables or other electrical infrastructure to ensure safety and health of all persons involved.