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Tower collapse causes major blackout

Kuala Lumpur: The major blackout in many parts of Sabah Monday night was due to an electrical tower collapse in Inaman. This caused a power trip at the Sepanggar power plant, said Energy and Communications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor.

He said Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) and the Energy Commission had already been instructed to carry out a thorough investigation on the matter.

A preliminary report he received revealed that there was heavy rain at the time of the incident, he said in a telephone interview from Italy.

The Sepanggar power plant has a capacity of 100 megawatt, but the disruption caused a power shortage in Sabah as peak demand in the state stood at 560 megawatt.

Almost all major towns in the western and eastern parts of Sabah were affected by the outage.

Some two million people were affected with businesses complaining of losses as they were forced to close early.

Power tripped at about 6.40pm, affecting all but Labuan, Beaufort, Telupid and Sipitang. It was being restored in stages by 7.15pm when the 132KV line tripped again, putting the situation back to square one.

However, a SESB official said power was restored to half the affected areas by 9.38pm.

Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) Managing Director, Baharin Din told the Daily Express the Sepanggar IPP (Independent Power Producer) was directly linked to the East Coast, thus also affecting the districts there. He apologised on behalf of SESB for the inconvenience caused.

Residents from here, Penampang, Kota Marudu, Kudat, Kota Belud, Keningau, Sandakan, Tawau, Lahad Datu and Kunak, called up the newspaper to complain that power tripped at about 7pm.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who is attending the Rulers conference in Kuala Lumpur, directed SESB to rectify the power outage soonest possible.

Musa said he was made to understand that the blackout was due to a power drag at the Sepanggar plant. One shopowner in a shopping complex said he was forced to close before 8pm instead of the usual 10pm while restaurants had to rely on candles.

In TAWAU, an exposed high-tension wire in front of Wisma Rastamas caused a more-than-four-hour blackout, especially along Mile 31/2 and Mile 4, Monday.

A Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) spokesperson said a small explosion occurred after the exposed wire came in contact with rainwater at about 8am.

The spokesperson said SESB technicians found the sheath had been worn out, adding they fixed the problem at about 12.30pm.

Tawau MP Datuk Chua Soon Bui urged the public to contact the authorities especially SESB in the event of cable thefts or blackouts at its toll-free number 15454 or office at 089-775288.

*Article took from http://www.dailyexpress.com.my

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