Syarikat Sesco Berhad (Sesco) is making every effort to avoid the recurrence of the tripping incident which caused major blackout in Sarawak on Aug 19, assured Public Utilities Minister Dato Sri Awang Tengah Ali Hassan.
In a press statement yesterday, Tengah said Sesco had rectified the technical problem which was caused by a malfunction of the protection relay at the new 275kV Selangau Substation and not as a result of insufficient capacity or sabotage of the system.
“Sesco has managed to complete the connection of the transmission lines to the new 275kV Selangau Substation two days ahead of the Aug 14 deadline as announced in the press conference on Aug 10,” he said. He disclosed that the state’s current power capacity is about 930 Megawatt (MW) while present maximum demand is about 800 MW.
“When the coal-fired power station in Mukah is completed with the first unit expected to commission in early October this year, it will add another 135 MW to the grid system. We will also plan for the future expansion well in advance to meet the state’s demand” he added.
On Aug 9, almost the whole of Sarawak was without electricity for about three hours in what is one of the state’s worst electricity supply failures in recent years. The power outage could best be described as a rolling blackout as it came in waves starting from about 6.15pm to 6.40pm in Kuching and Sibu divisions.
It reached Miri about 7.30pm while some parts of Bintulu were struck by the blackout at 9pm. The power returned intermittently in several parts of Kuching and Sibu starting about 7.40pm but within half an hour, went out again.
Electricity supply went back to normal in Miri and Sibu at 8.35pm. Kuching city centre, however, remained in darkness throughout the outage until about 9.30pm.
Awang Tengah then issued a press statement saying that the power outage was due to a shutdown to Circuit 1 which finally tripped after the main grid had not been operating normally since 11.45am the day of the blackout.
He said it so happened that the initial problem occurred while works were being carried out at the new Selangau 275kV substation.
He explained that the new substation was needed to connect the new Mukah coal-fired power station to the main grid as part of system expansion and reinforcement programme.