Growing Papar demand: SESB mulling upgrade
Published on: Friday, May 13, 2022
By: Sidney Skinner
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Left: A crane was deployed to facilitate efforts to install the new electricity poles along the access road to Kg Nuvoung. Right: New poles being transported up to this part of Papar so that an alternative route could be set up for the electricity cables servicing the village.
Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) will consider upgrading its system servicing a Papar village to meet the growing demand from consumers there.

A SESB spokesman said the management was deliberating over how best to increase its supply to the area in the long term.

“We are looking into the possibility of setting up more transformers and supply-lines in this part of the district,” he said.

“In the meantime, we will arrange to have a load-shedding exercise performed to offer our customers some temporary relief.

“We hope to do this within the next few months.”

The company’s technicians had to temporarily dismantle some of the overhead lines servicing this Penampang church so that the poles could be put back upright.

The company’s action follows a complaint about the power irregularities in Kg Nuvoung.

The rural folk living there were under the impression that insufficient electricity was being supplied to the area.

These suspicions have arisen because the electrical items did not operate at their maximum capacity throughout the night.

The spokesman said a voltage drop was to blame for these problems.

He said SESB had already attempted to stabilise the electricity being channelled to the area.

“Towards the end of 2021, we tried to split the load of the supply by setting up an alternate route for our transmission lines here.

“New poles were set up at strategic locations as part of this re-routing effort.”

He said action was also taken to prune the trees growing near the company’s cables to reduce the likelihood of any overgrown branches coming in contact with the power lines.

For some time, ALVIN of Papar has noticed that his household appliances have not been functioning as they should.

He said the ceiling lights did not operate at their brightest. 

“Sometimes, they even blink, or dim gradually, before going off by themselves,” he said.

He said the ceiling fans had also been working strangely.

The electricity poles had gradually begun to lean over towards the fixtures inside the church compound.

“I will set the fan in my bedroom to its fastest setting, before turning in for the night.

“Several hours later, I will be awakened by the heat, to find that the blades are spinning so slowly as if the fan was at its lowest setting.

On top of this, he said, his refrigerator occasionally vibrated violently. 

“It makes an unusual noise like the compressor is about to go.” 

These goings-on had made him wonder if his house might be haunted.

“It feels like poltergeists or ghosts may be messing with the switches and dials for this equipment.”

Alvin said he had reported what was happening to SESB on several occasions, since these problems first began.

He said different technicians from the company had gone to Kg Nuvoung over the intervening period.

“After checking the overhead lines, these personnel informed us that ‘bekalan tidak stabil (the supply was not stable)’.

“They each assured us that they would inform their superiors of their findings but could not tell us what would be done or when our supply woes would be addressed.”

He said their assurances had thus far amounted to nothing more than empty words.

These turn of events did not sit well with many of those who stayed in the area, according to him.

“As consumers who have been prompt in settling their monthly charges, they feel that it is unfair for these irregularities to persist indefinitely.”

He could not understand how SESB could overlook the plight of the 30 households in the village which was situated about several kilometres away from the town.

Meanwhile, SESB has finally attended to the leaning poles around a Penampang church, three years after a parishioner first reported this problem to the company.  

Another spokesman for the firm said its staff confirmed that several poles were not upright.

“They identified three poles outside the church compound looked as if they could topple over at any time,” he said.

“Action was taken to return these structures to their original position last month.”

LO of Penampang said the poles, outside the fence for the church on Jalan Inobong Putaton Bansadon, had been bending over from the way back in May 2019.

“I contacted SESB at the time and was assured that action would be taken to set the poles upright,” he said.

“Some personnel from the company came to the church grounds shortly afterwards. They confirmed that the poles could topple over and photographed the situation.”

He was made to understand that these photos would be given to their superiors so that this problem could be dealt with.

Two years later, when no action was forthcoming, Lo lodged another complaint with SESB.

“Representatives from the company visited the church in December 2021 and again promised to attend to the poles which had become worse in the interim period.

“The poles had inched closer to building and other fixtures on the grounds. 

“Some of the electricity cables had drooped down so much that they were now within arm’s reach. 

“Anyone who accidentally comes in contact with these overhead lines risks being electrocuted.”

Lo said a group of SESB workers came to the area after this inspection.

“Instead of pushing the poles back to their original position, however, they merely pruned the branches and cleared the greenery which had grown into the path of the power lines.” 

The spokesman said a check would be made of the company’s records to determine how this problem could have gone unresolved for so long. 

“Our staff will be asked to be more mindful of any problems involving its installations in this part of the district to prevent this problem from recurring,” he said. 

“Our customers can also help us in this regard. 

“They should alert us directly of any irregularities with the electricity, including those related to our structures, so that action can be taken to attend to such matters as soon as possible."

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