KOTA KINABALU: Sandakan folks can expect better power supply with the completion of two new main intake substations and upgrading of another in the east coast district.
Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said the Federal Government had provided a RM200.5mil soft loan and grant for the three projects, as well as to carry out improvements to the transmission network.
Dr Ongkili said the two new substations would be built in Seguntor and Elopura, both with 90 megavolt ampere capacity, while upgrading was being carried out on the Segaliud-Seguntor transmission lines.
“The projects are expected to be completed by Jan 2018.
“These are among efforts by the Government to improve power delivery in Sabah, particularly Sandakan,” he said after a briefing on the power supply situation in Sandakan by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB).
National utility firm Tenaga Nasional Berhad had also set up a special task force to help SESB reduce power supply disruptions in major towns.
Dr Ongkili said under the System Average Interruption Duration Index (Saidi), this year’s target was 350 minutes per-year per-customer and the goal was to further reduce it to 250 minutes by 2017.
For Sandakan, the Saidi stands at about 400 minutes, and it was targeted to be brought down to 150 minutes in the coming year, he added.
He said weak network systems had also contributed to the frequent power disruptions, adding that to date, only 40 megawatt (MW) power capacity was available to meet Sandakan’s 100MW demand.
“We have to import about 70MW from the generation capacity in the west coast to meet the demand here. In addition, about 70% of the distribution lines are bare cables, which is prone to lightning strike and other causes, leading to frequent power blackouts,” he said.
Dr Ongkili also blamed the rampant copper cable thefts as another main contributor.
Copper is said to be sold between RM20 and RM30 per kilo.