SEB’s team in Long Bedian, Marudi.

KUCHING: Sarawak’s rural communities are assured of Sarawak Energy’s commitment to providing reliable power supply during the movement control order (MCO).

Datuk Sharbini Suhaili

“While our urban customers are well served as they are grid-connected to our major power plants and  can access quick response by technical teams, we are also ensuring that we keep the lights on in rural areas where we have a number of thermal and hybrid power plants generating supply,” said Sarawak Energy Group chief executive officer Datuk Sharbini Suhaili.

Most of Sarawak Energy’s customers are provided with electricity through two parallel transmission grids that are connected to major power plants such as Bakun and Murum.

Rural customers not yet connected to the main grids are served by a mixture of thermal and hybrid power stations. These serve communities located in the highlands of Bario, interior areas along the Rajang River, and remote areas beyond Long Lama and Lawas among others.

Sarawak Energy is employing robust measures to ensure supply reliability for Sarawakians residing in these rural areas and the interior during the MCO.

A team of 120 has been deployed on rotation basis to oversee the operations of these rural power stations as well as undertake electrical and mechanical maintenance works across Sarawak.

“Our rural operations team and their support functions are working to ensure there are no disruptions in terms of logistics like fuel supply for our thermal plants and also maintenance equipment and material,” said Sharbini.

The utility has an organised team of personnel who are manning critical functions for both power plants’ operations and providing maintenance services.

He reiterated that the wellbeing and safety of Sarawak Energy staff was a top priority despite their distant place of work and they were being kept updated on the health directives from the authorities.

“Our rural operations team serve in the interior and we are making sure they maintain communication and are kept updated through their line managers and internal advisories regarding the Covid-19 situation in the state and on self-protective measures against the virus,” he said.

Sarawak has achieved 97 percent electrification through a mixture of strategies and aims to achieve 99 percent electrification in 2020 towards full electrification by 2025. 

Electricity is considered an essential service and as its primary provider in the state, Sarawak Energy’s critical functions teams are continuing to work from their base locations and plants while a majority of office-based staff now operate from home.

“In discharging our responsibilities to keep the lights on for the people of Sarawak, we are continuing to comply with all directives from the National Security Council and State Disaster Management Committee to help the government break the transmission of Covid-19. Stay home, stay connected,” said Sharbini.