SAPP Regrets Sabah's Worst Blackout In Recent Memory
By Newmond Tibin
KOTA KINABALU, April 30 (Bernama) -- The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has called for the state's power utility management to be fully returned to the state Government after the state's worst blackout in recent memory Monday.
Information chief Chong Pit Fah said the outage, which lasted more than seven hours from 3.23am and affected almost the whole state including the state capital and Labuan Fedral Territory, shows the level of commitment and competence of Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) under Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) in managing the state's power supply.
In Sarawak, he said, the state Government has been managing its own power utility all this while without any report of such blackouts, but in Sabah such problems remain despite TNB taking over the majority share under the corporatisation exercise of the Sabah Electricity Board (SEB).
"And SESB has been giving assurances one after another about measures it has taken to ensure sufficient power in Sabah.
"It also boasted that it has upgraded the power distribution system with the completion of the power grid, which is supposedly able to distribute electricity even if one power plant is shut down anywhere in Sabah.
"But the case on Monday clearly shows that all this is merely talk and when the real thing came, everything came to a halt," he said in a statement here.
Chong said the people were also baffled that an important facility such as the Penampang main power distribution centre could "catch fire" easily, lending credence to the view that TNB/SESB is unable to manage Sabah's power supply.
More importantly, he said, SAPP had been receiving complaints from the public, particularly businessmen dealing with frozen meat and foodstuff, that no information was given to them by the government.
"They really needed information on the actual situation and whether the government would provide them a temporary solution like hiring a temporary power generator set so that their goods would not get rotten, but nothing was forthcoming," he said.
Chong said TNB/SESB must be held responsible for all the losses incurred by businesses and people during the power outage.
Meanwhile, SESB said in a separate statement today that its investigations revealed damage to one of the 66kV Capacitive Voltage Transformers (CVT) at the Penampang main intake substation near here.
SESB managing director Ahmad Fuad Md Kasim said the outage affected over 400,000 consumers and tripped many power generating plants in the state and Labuan, forcing SESB to impose emergency rationing to stabilise Sabah's grid system.
The utility company's 15454 hotline was also swamped with calls from affected consumers, he said, adding power was restored in stages from 6.40am.
SESB apologises for the inconvenience caused to consumers by the unexpected outage, the real cause of which had yet to be ascertained, added Ahmad Fuad.