KUCHING: More than 406 households from ten villages in Pantai Damai were recently connected to the grid through the Sarawak government-funded Additional or Late Applicant Fund (ALAF).
ALAF is a programme designed to assist new rural homeowners in already-electrified areas with the costs of connecting their homes to the power grid.
The government through its Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication and implementing agency Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) is accelerating the delivery of rural electrification projects to ensure access to reliable and affordable electricity supply for the whole of Sarawak by 2025 or earlier.
In a statement on Thursday (March 3), it said that the new houses were not built yet or ready for electricity connection when earlier Rural Electrification Scheme (RES) projects were implemented in their areas.
“ALAF was introduced under Sarawak’s Projek Rakyat to reduce the financial burden of new rural homeowners needing power connection.
“To date, over 6,800 households from more than 530 villages throughout Sarawak have benefited from this,” said Utility and Telecommunication Minister Datuk Julaihi Narawi.
He said this while officiating at a ceremony at Kampung Buntal to mark the successful electrification of the households.
His Deputy Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi said another five villages involving155 households will be connected to the grid by June this year.
The connection will allow them access to 24-hour reliable and renewable electricity with a further 16 villages comprising 208 households set to get electricity by early 2024, he said.
Under ALAF, the state government absorbs the costs of constructing new single -phase connections to the existing distribution network, which may also need to be expanded to reach new houses.
ALAF also covers the meter installation fees and house owners only need to pay RM10 stamp duty and RM80 collateral deposit for registering as a new rural electricity consumer.
SEB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Datuk Sharbini Suhaili said Sarawak Energy will continue to ensure reliable and affordable electricity is made available to people in Sarawak.
“Under ALAF, construction works are executed in stages according to when the supply schemes are approved.
“About 1,400 of these households are expected to be connected before the end of 2022,” Sharbini added.
Complementing the ALAF programme, SEB provides a financial assistance called Assisted Wiring Scheme (AWS), an interest-free loan to house owners for installing the necessary internal house wiring.
“The loan provides up to RM1,200 depending on size of the new house and repayment is via 36 installments in their monthly electricity bill.
“More than 150,000 rural households throughout the state have been lighted up under various rural electrification strategies and initiatives since 2009.
“The State rural electricity coverage has been rising from 56 per cent back then to 96.5 per cent at the end of 2021,” said SEB.
Electricity supply connection was delivered through extension of the grid system for rural areas with road accessibility; establishing localised micro -grid – hybrid systems for larger remote communities; and smaller standalone solar power systems for most smaller remote villages through Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES).