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'SESB doing its best to reduce power outages'

Published on: Monday, July 07, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) is doing all it can to reduce incidences of power supply disruption in Sabah, said Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

He said lately the incidences of outages were caused by fire, cable and transformer faults, lightning, gas curtailment or problem of gas lines from Petronas to the two new independent power plants (IPP), SPR Energy Sdn Bhd and Kimanis Power Sdn Bhd.

"SESB is doing all it can to mitigate these situations to reduce the outages, including identifying root causes," he said in a statement here Sunday.

Ongkili said he had a meeting with the SESB management on July 4 on the recent outages that had occurred in Sabah.

He said one of the steps was to produce predictive methods to detect faults such as through the Partial Discharge mapping for underground cables and thermal imaging for switch gears, transformers and equipment above ground.

He said a study with consultants was also being conducted on the transmission protection system and to determine whether the current system needed to be reset or upgraded.

"SESB also plans to install a similar system as that being used in the peninsula and Sarawak, which is the wide area/zone defence system for a check-and-balance to be carried out every three minutes on demand and supply at the designated zones such as the Sandakan/Lahad Datu/Tawau/ Labuan/Interior zone," he said.

He said a safe islanded mode would speed up the duration to get the grid system back online with the implementation to take about eight months to complete.

Ongkili said SESB was also taking steps to install supervisory, control and data systems at the load dispatch centres to remotely monitor and control the system in order to isolate faults and restore supply.

"At the moment, the dispatch centres can only supervise the Sabah electrical infrastructure by about 60 percent," he said, adding that improvements would be made to enhance this role to enable faster response.

On the generation side, Ongkili said SESB planned to have new plant-ups at the east coast of Sabah involving planting-up in Lahad Datu in 2016, Sandakan in 2017 and Tawau in 2018 to meet the existing demand there and replace existing unreliable and inefficient diesel machines.

SESB had been urged to work with villages committees and the communities to monitor the distribution and transmission lines that were prone to be faulted due to vegetation as well as birds and other animals, he said.