7,000 more in northern Sarawak remote communities get free solar-powered electricity

Sarawak Public Utilities Minister Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi Utom (3rd from left) handing over solar power certification to villagers in Lio Mato in remote northern Sarawak. -Ministry pic

MIRI: Some 7,000 people living in nine villages in the deep remote parts of northern Sarawak have been given solar-powered electricity sets that will provide them with free 24-hour power supply.

The project is facilitated by Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) under its Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES).

SEB is the state's electricity provider.

Sarawak Public Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom recently presented the nine villages’ community chiefs with the SARES solar systems at a ceremony in Lio Mato settlement, witnessed by SEB top officials.

The beneficiaries are from 630 households in the nine remote settlements: Lio Mato, Long Ajeng, Ba Muboi, Long Tungan, Long Selaan, Long Moh, Long Jeeh, Long Jikitan and Long Tikan.

Rundi said SEB will install the solar sets for all the families for free.

“SARES is the method that we use to provide free and reliable electricity to those villages that are located in very remote jungles and mountains.

“These places are too far away to be connected by power lines to the state's main power grid.

“SARES provides reliable electricity 24 hours a day, ” he said.

Rundi added that with SARES, villagers no longer have to rely on diesel to power their generator sets, which require a lot of diesel fuel that can be costly.

Such generator sets also create noise pollution and fumes that can be bad for health, he noted.

The nine settlements are located in the upper reaches of Baram district about 10 hours by timber road from Miri.

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