Earth Hour : Power consumption down by 50MW

sesbKota Kinabalu: The Earth Hour campaign last Saturday saw electricity consumption in Sabah drop by 50 megawatts at its peak.

Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) Managing Director, Baharin Din, said the reduction in power consumption was equivalent to one small power station that produces 50MW of electricity.

“The 50MW represents about eight per cent of our typical demand for electricity (throughout the State),” he told reporters after the launching of the new vehicle corporate colour at Wisma SESB, here, Wednesday.

Sabah’s regular demand for electricity is about 650MW.

Baharin said the Earth Hour campaign showed how consumers could influence the decision whether to build a new power station with a capacity to generate 50MW of electricity.

Consumers who participated in the exercise, he said, did not suffer any inconveniences because they still turned on the air-conditioners and televisions.

“And that power saving is not smallÉit is very significant,” he said.

And the SESB did not suffer losses even though power use dropped by 50MW, he said.

If not, he said, the utility company would not have supported and promoted the event.

Nationwide, electricity consumption dipped by 550MW during the Earth Hour.

On other developments, Baharin said Sabah’s peak demand is between 11am and 3pm and between 7pm and 8.30pm.

The SESB has to really plan ahead to meet the four-hour demand but to build another power station to accommodate the four-hour peak is not efficient from an economic point of view, he said.

“So, the best thing to do is to bring down the peak because the peak only happens four hours a day,” he said.

Further, he said to conserve energy and the environment, something must be done during the peak demand.

In other words, he said, it is about changing the people’s behaviour or consumption pattern.

Meanwhile, Sabah will have an additional 120 megawatts by end of this year to boost its present power supply of 650MW statewide.

Baharin said the additional power would come from four sources, namely, 20 units of permanent generator sets (gensets), six mobile gensets, 40 rehabilitated existing sets and 60MW from an independent power provider (IPP).

“We are in the final phase of supplying 20 more units of permanent sets that have a capacity of 1MW each to be placed in Melawa and Tanjung Aru so as to further reinforce our generation capacity,” he said.

He said these generators would be injected into the grid system to generate 20MW of power and are expected to start operating by May.

Apart from that, he said an additional 40MW would be made available through the rehabilitation of its old sets in Sandakan and Tawau.

In addition, he said another 60MW would be injected before August this year and that by end of this year, IPP Ranhill Powertron would be able to generate 60MW of electricity.

The six mobile gensets on the other hand, he said, have a total capacity of producing 6MW.

Baharin said the additional power showed SESB’s seriousness in ensuring the level of electricity supply in Sabah is maintained or improved.

“We are not just sitting down (doing nothing)Éthis is a concrete plan and we hope we will address the significant shortfall, like load shedding for the past one or two weeks,” he said.

According to him, the problem faced by Sabah is that when the present generator sets break down or undergo maintenance, power supply would be inadequate.

“So, this 120MW would provide that buffer so that we have alternative backup,” he said.

Baharin expressed confidence that within the next three years, SESB would be able to overcome all its problems.

He said the six mobile gensets cost the company about RM6.7 million while the 20 rent-to-own sets cost about RM25 million.

On the other hand, he said the rehabilitation of the existing gensets cost about RM30 million while the IPP is spending about RM1 billion to set up its facility.

He said mobile gensets would be used to minimise power interruption during load shedding as well as to augment the present generation capacity.

“The benefit would be in terms of customers getting early restoration of power,” he said.

The mobile gensets would be used as temporary interim supply until repairs are done, he said.

Having said that, he said the SESB has improved its services significantly.

Previously, he said Sabah’s System Availability Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) record was 3,800 minutes but that it has gone down to 1,000 minutes.

“That is a 300 per cent improvement (compared to previously),” he said adding that in 2006, the SAIDI index in Sabah was 4,000mins.

Hence, the lower the period for power interruption, the better it is, he said.

The SESB, he said, is targeting to further decrease the SAIDI to 240mins by 2012.

In the case of Sabah, he said the figure looked appalling due to the presence of many pockets of rural areas.

According to him, 80 per cent of the supply network in Sabah are rural-based networks.

However, he said the SAIDI index in most major towns is below 500mins.

In Peninsular Malaysia, he said 20 per cent of the network are in rural areas and 80 per cent in urban areas.

Baharin said in terms of providing “comfort buffer”, power supply would be more assured by year-end.

“The (present) system is sufficient and adequate but (we would be more comfortable) if there is (additional) systems security,” he said.

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