Special team set up to probe Sabah blackout

Motorists stuck in traffic due to the state-wide power failure.

KOTA KINABALU - A special technical investigating team has been set up to probe the cause of the massive 12-hour power blackout which left some 500,000 consumers in Sabah and Labuan in the dark.

Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) senior general manager (asset management) Muhamad Nazri Pazil said the team comprised top company engineers and their Energy Commission counterparts.

He said the full report of the probe would be handed over to Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry, the Sabah Cabinet, Tenaga Nasional and the commission.

"At the moment we are still carrying out in depth investigations as to the cause that triggered off the blackout," Muhamad said.

Power supply throughout Sabah and Labuan went out at 11.05am on Friday and was restored in stages, initially in the Ranau district at about 12.15pm.

Muhamad said Sandakan was the last district to get its electricity supply restored at about 10.20pm.

SESB officials said the power supply disruption occurred after simultaneous tripping along its east-west transmission grid.

Company managing director Abdul Razak Salim described the massive power supply failure as "unexpected" as its state-wide power grid was designed to take simultaneous tripping.

Meanwhile, Sabah industries said they intended to seek a deferment of the hike in electricity tariffs as they were hit by escalating charges while having to deal with inconsistent power supply.

Federation of Sabah Industries president Datuk Seri Wong Ken Thau said they were seeking a deferment in the electricity tariff hike by another five to 10 years.

He said the electricity tariffs in Sabah were last revised in 2011 and the rates were increased again this year by another 16.9 per cent, plus 1.6 per cent of renewable energy fund for the Feed-in-Tariff.

He added that the statewide black­out on Friday was a clear indication that SESB needed to improve its services before imposing higher tariffs.