Repairs works being done on the 33kV high tension tower.

MIRI: Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) informed that extensive repair works required to fix a fault on a high tension 33kV tower in Marudi is taking longer than estimated due to extreme bad weather and dangerous flood waters.

In the meantime, SEB said power supply to critical facilities in the riverine town of Marudi is being supplied through mobile gensets provided by Sarawak Energy.

A snapped conductor or overhead power line caused the Marudi Junction Substation to trip at 4pm on Thursday when the safety mechanism kicked in. This caused loss of power supply to Marudi town, affecting 4,000 customers.

Sarawak Enegery vice president of distribution Yusri Sabri said they are focusing all efforts in getting supply restored to Marudi as well as ensuring critical facilities have electricity.

“We have deployed our technical team to site immediately following the alert on the supply interruption,” he said.

Seven mobile gensets were deployed from Miri to power up critical facilities and some parts of Marudi. The first three gensets arrived around midnight and four more gensets were deployed on Friday morning. The gensets are sufficient to power up 80 per cent of Marudi excluding rural areas.

The tower’s location in the jungle with no road access was made more challenging with flood waters and thunderstorm hampering accessibility and the safe start of repair works. Sarawak Energy’s technical team team were only able to reach the site after two attempts at 4am on Friday and despite a torrential thunderstorm, were able to locate the fault on the tower. As of press time, repair works continues.

A preliminary investigation shows that heavy lightning activity over the area was the potential cause of the damaged conductors.

“The team is now already there but were only able to reach the site at 4am on Friday morning as accessibility is severely hampered by flood waters and extremely muddy conditions. Even then, they could not start repair works immediately due to safety reasons caused by the weather conditions,” he said.

“Another group from our operations team is dedicated to managing the deployment of mobile gensets since midnight. They continue to be on standby to assist the residents of Marudi.

“We truly regret the inconvenience caused and assure the people of Marudi that we are accelerating work to restore supply safely,” he said.

Regular patrol works are done to inspect the 44km power lines that transmit electricity from Marudi Junction Substation to Marudi.

The power lines traverse forested areas and also private oil palm plantation estates, obstructing smooth access in the event of a fault. As a continuing mitigation measure, periodic vegetation clearing is done along the line routes to minimise the risk of  supply interruption.