KUCHING, Nov 28 ― Public Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundie Utom said today that it is wrong to assume that the frequent blackouts in Sarawak are caused by the shortage of power generated from the Bakun and Murum dams.
“We have enough load from the two dams, but the problems are the incapability of the lines to transmit the load as well as due to lightning strikes, falling trees, wild animals and birds affecting the transmission,” he told reporters after his winding up speech at the Sarawak state legislative assembly today.
The two dams supply a combined capacity of 3,340 megawatts of electricity in the state.
The latest outages, which happened on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, affected customers in the southern part of Sarawak, covering Mukah, Sibu, Sarikei, Betong, Sri Aman, Serian, Samarahan and Kuching divisions, for between two and three hours.
The outages were caused by a tripping of the Selangau-Oya 275kV transmission and Kemena-Selangau 275kV lines.
“Sarawak Energy Berhad is investigating the two incidents and the results of the investigation will be independently verified by an international consulted to be engaged by my ministry,” he said.
Dr Rundie said the risk of these incidents can be mitigated with the completion of the 500kV second transmission backbone, which is expected to be completed by the second quarter of next year.
It is initially target to be completed by the end of this year.
Dr Rundie blamed the delay to the demand for the exorbitant compensation from the landowners through which the 500kV second transmission backbone will be passing through.