Kota Marudu Member of Parliament

Paperwork for Sandakan gas-fired power plant to be presented to parliament next month – Maximus

KOTA KINABALU: The cabinet will decide the implementation of a 380MW gas-fired power plant in Sandakan in January, next year, said Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

Under the project, the gas would be channeled from Tuaran to Sandakan using a piped system and pass through several districts including Tuaran, Kota Belud, Kota Marudu and Beluran to meet the demand for power in the east coast of Sabah.

Maximus said the paperwork outlining power initiatives to light up Sabah’s east coast through Sandakan, would only be presented to parliament in January.

The paper involves the piped system to channel gas from Gayang in Tuaran to the 380MW power plant in Sandakan, which will be implemented concurrently.

Initially, the paperwork was supposed to be presented in parliament 60 days from August 2015. However, during the first Sabah State Level Energy Consultants Panel (PPTNS) meeting in October, he said it would take another 60 days to iron out pertinent details before its presentation there.

“Paper to cabinet to decide on the implementation, by next month. It will come concurrently, they are bringing up the pipelines, at the same time the power plant will have to be constructed,” he told the press at the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Christmas Day Open House at KDCA here yesterday.

“We are still discussing the rules of the states, how many per cent to be given to the state and so forth. We are at the finalization stage between the federal and state.

“How many per cent to be given to the state, how much are they willing to pay. You know, you want to take share, you will have to pay also. So these things take a bit of time,” explained Maximus who is also PBS deputy president.

A decision on who would undertake the private-sector driven federal government project would be made by next year, he added.

“In terms of generation, we actually have spare, sometimes 180 to 250 MW. But there is a big deficit in the east coast. Transferring  power from the west coast here to the east coast has often been hampered,” he said.

“For instance, last year sometime in May, a tower fell and for almost one week, we could not transfer power from here, the west coast.

“That means we have to plant up in the east coast, and plans are  afloat to do re-powering of 16MW in Sandakan and 13MW in Lahad Datu, which can come on stream within 12 months while waiting for the 380MW from Sandakan,” he added.

Maximus revealed that some of the few issues faced lie at the distribution level, where 70 per cent of cables are bare and leaving it vulnerable to power interruptions caused by simple activities such as tree branch clippings.

However, he affirmed efforts to upgrade it have been made since the last four months and it will be continued next year.

He also affirmed that the electricity supply in Sabah has improved from year to year.

Even though Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) is a private company owned 80 per cent by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and 20 per cent by the Sabah government, Maximus reiterated that the federal government had continued to provide funding and had approved a RM2.23 billion allocation up to 2019.

He disclosed  that RM515 million would be channelled next year to improve Sabah’s power generation, distribution and transmission.

“We are confident that this will help to improve further the quality and delivery of energy to the consumers. We are monitoring very closely. We have asked SESB to upgrade their performance as well and we are putting additional KPI for them for next year,” he added.

The System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) in Sabah has also significantly improved.

“I have a KPI to keep the level of interruption to the minimum and this year was 350 (minutes) SAIDI. In terms of index, I think we just made it a little bit over, and that is a major improvement compared to 550 (minutes) the year before,” he revealed.

“We are going to further press it down. I think we are setting it to only 300 (minutes) SAIDI for next year,” he emphasized, adding that agencies under the ministry who did not meet the KPI target would be penalized in one form or another.

“This is the commitment being done by the fellow government through working with the state government and I am confident, things can only be better,” he asserted.


Source - The Borneo Post