Power Rationing Until July To Stabilise Grid

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KOTA KINABALU: Power rationing currently taking place in several areas in Sabah is necessary to maintain the stability of the main grid system, which could be disrupted due to overcapacity at certain times.

SESB Chief Executive Officer, Ir Mohd. Yaakob Jaafar said, the grid system must continue to operate within its capacity because any damage due to overuse could cause power supply interruption throughout the state and its restoration could take a long time.

However, he said, SESB has never been idle from resolving the situation, but rather, a short-term recovery plan has been implemented, while a long-term plan is expected to fully streamline the power supply in Sabah by June 2024.

“Right now, we observe that electricity consumption at night, for example, is around 800 to 900 megawatts. But due to the hot weather now, the usage has increased to over 1,000 megawatts. So, to keep the grid stable, rationing needs to be done.

“Usually, the utility’s power reserve supply should be 20 to 30 percent, but due to many factors such as generator damage at power stations and others, the supply margin has decreased, resulting in usage exceeding capacity,” he said at a press conference today.

Earlier, Mohd. Yaakob briefed the Minister of Public Works, Datuk Ir Shahelmy Yahya on the power supply situation in Sabah at the Sabah Power Supply Distribution Center (SLDC) Penampang here. Also present was the Deputy Minister of Public Works, Datuk Limus Jury.

Mohd. Yaakob said that the power rationing, which began on April 12, is expected to continue until July 4, however, it is not as severe as reported, as only 6 to 12 percent of total users were involved.

He clarified, the maximum usage recorded was on May 11, which was 1,080.19 megawatts, exceeding the highest total in August last year of 1,032 megawatts.

He said, the power outage in the vicinity of Kota Kinabalu last Tuesday and Wednesday, however, was not due to rationing, but a supply disruption caused by a gear switch explosion in Karambunai and underground cable damage in Meruntum, Putatan.

“Tuesday’s disruption occurred at Maghrib time due to a high-voltage explosion, there was no element of sabotage, we are still investigating why the gear switch exploded but the explosion was indeed a technical incident that could occur.”

“On Wednesday, it was damage to the underground cable, so our team is looking for the location of the damage, so far our findings are between Meruntum and Putatan, and once we located it, we will determine what the damage is,” he explained.

Regarding the SESB recovery plan, Mohd. Yaakob said, it involves power supply throughout the state.

“Previously, we had installed 11 mobile gensets in Tawau and in June another 17 will be used. Next, between July and August, we will install generators for Tawau and Semporna with a capacity of 20 megawatts.”

“Next March, a generator will be installed in Kimanis with a capacity of 20 megawatts, while the Pangi power station will be fully operational by June 2024 with a capacity of 66 megawatts,” he explained.

He added, the construction project for the new power station in Kimanis has been awarded to Ranhill Utilities Berhad, which can generate 100 megawatts, but there was a slight delay involving the authorities.

“As for what’s happening with the authorities, I can’t comment, but the last time Sabah received a new power station was in 2014,” he said.

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