New And Upgraded PMUs For Better Power Delivery In Sandakan – Ongkili

File photo of SESB officials at a sub station in Matunggong.
File photo of SESB officials at a sub station in Matunggong.

SANDAKAN – Consumers can expect better power delivery with the completion of two new main intake substations (PMU) and upgrading of another in the district.

Dr Max Ongkili
Dr Maximus Ongkili

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said the federal government had approved RM200.5 million in soft loans and grants for the three projects, including improvements to the network.

Two new PMUs would be build in Seguntor and Elopura, both with 90 Megavolt Ampere (MVA) capacity, while upgrading was being carried out on the Segaliud- Seguntor transmission lines, according to a report by Bernama.

“All projects are expected to be completed by January 2018. These are among efforts by the government to improve power delivery in Sabah, particularly Sandakan, said Ongkili, adding this year’s target for Sabah’s SAIDI is 350 minutes per-year per-customer, and hopes to reduce it to 250 minutes by 2017.

“A special task force has also been set up by TNB (Tenaga Nasional Berhad) to assist SESB (Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd) to help reduce SAIDI (System Average Interruption Duration Index) in major towns in Sabah in the next 12 months.”

“For Sandakan, the SAIDI stands at about 400 minutes, and my hope is for the special task force can reduce the power disruptions to 150 minutes or below within one year,” he said in a statement after a briefing on the district’s power situation by Sandakan SESB zone manager, Rahim Tahir, here, Sunday.

Ongkili was here to present his paper entitled ‘Understanding the Malaysia Agreement 1963’, which is among the papers discussed and presented at Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Sandakan Leadership Seminar.

He said weak network system had contributed to frequent power disruptions, adding that to date, only 40 Megawatt power capacity is available to meet Sandakan’s 100 MW demand.

“We have to import about 70MW from the west coast to meet the demand here,” he explained.

About 70 per cent of the transmission lines here are bare cables, which is prone to lightning strike and other causes which lead to frequent power disruptions, while the remaining are either underground cables or aerial bundled cables (ABC).

Ongkili blamed the rampant copper cable thefts to the frequent power disruptions.

It is learnt that copper is sold at between RM20 to RM30 per kilogramme in the market. Efforts are on hand to replace copper cables with steel cables, which work the same but less are attractive to thieves,” he said, adding this was among remedies to power disruptions in Sabah.