KOTA KINABALU: The power shortages that have long plagued the state have forced Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) to introduce load shedding during peak hours.
The utility company is usually able to generate 756MW of electricity a day, but it has lost about 13 per cent of power following disruptions at five generating plants.
Two turbines at the Tenom Pangi hydro plant are out of commission.
One was damaged by floods recently, while another is under repair.
At three other stations, engines have broken down, and the Patau-Patau station has lost 5MW due to problems with gas supply from Petronas.
“Power generation in Sabah is at its most critical level right now.
“We have no choice but to do load shedding now that we have lost almost 100MW.
“We are hoping that some of these generators will be operational again by next week.
“However, we cannot say for sure that supply will be better next week as we cannot predict damage to generation sets,” said SESB corporate communications senior manager Chendramata Sinteh in a statement.
She said there was a need for a high-capacity power generation station to meet the rising needs of consumers.
A plan to build a 300MW coal-fired plant in Lahad Datu was shelved last year following strong protests from environmentalists, as the proposed site was close to the biodiversity-rich Danum Valley and Darvel Bay.
An environmental impact assessment is being done for another site in Sandakan, but even this location is facing protests.
On WWF’s Earth Hour campaign, Chendramata said SESB support the event as it fitted in with the company’s aim to promote efficient use of energy.
“We have put in contingency plans to make sure the electricity supply system will be stable when consumers switch on their lights at the same time at 9.30pm on Saturday.”