Lightning strikes plunge several Sarawak towns into darkness

Lightning strikes plunge several Sarawak towns into darkness

MIRI - More than half a million people in the northern part of Sarawak were hit by a lightning-induced blackout that began at 10pm on Thursday.

Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) northern region manager Choo Min Chong said his company had carried out detailed investigations into the outage that affected seven densely populated districts and sub-districts in Sarawak.

The blackout was attributed to lightning which struck multiple points during thunderstorms that lashed the coastal region of northern Sarawak.

"The lightning strikes hit both circuits between the Samalaju to Tudan transmission lines located between Bintulu and Miri.

"The affected areas were Miri City, Lutong, Kuala Baram, Lambir, Marudi, Bekenu and Batu Niah.

"Our technical teams immediately went to work and supply was restored to the affected areas after bet­ween 30 minutes and two hours.

"It is not common for lightning to strike both circuits at once but this is one of those rare instances," he explained yesterday.

SEB CEO Lu Yew Hung said that the utility provider was in the midst of reinforcing the network for Miri to enhance supply stability and reliability.

He said SEB was implementing a five-year plan costing RM400mil (S$154 million) to upgrade the supply system for the northern region of Sarawak, an undertaking expected to be completed before 2018.

Lu also took the opportunity to thank the people for their patience and understanding during the power disruption.

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