MIRI: The Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES) has made a difference in the lives of over 8,000 households in more than 270 villages in the most remote areas of Sarawak since it was introduced in 2016.
Overall, under this innovative government-community initiative, the Sarawak Government through the Ministry of Utilities and project implementor Sarawak Energy has provided about 60,000 rural residents who live in Sarawak’s hinterland with renewable, decarbonised and reliable 24/7 energy by displacing noisy and expensive diesel generators through the innovative government-community initiative.
Since SARES was introduced in 2016, more than 20,000 residents from about 2,500 households in 51 remote villages in Telang Usan have been lighted up. By the end of 2021, Telang Usan will be fully electrified when the renewable solar-powered systems are installed in another 21 villages in the area.
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Johari Tun Openg officiated at an event held in Long Pilah, Telang Usan to officially hand over the newly installed SARES systems and to commemorate the successful training for the residents at thirteen beneficiary villages.
These SARES projects have electrified the homes of more than 6,000 residents from 725 households in 13 villages: Long Pilah, Long Luteng, Long Daloh Bestari, Long Miri, Long Tebangan, Long Liam Keliman, Long Sobeng, Long Selapun, Long Sebatang, Long Sengung, Long Pala, Long Buah, and Long Buken.
Long Pilah, with a population of about 2000, is located along the banks of the Baram river and is about 90-minutes drive by timber track from the closest town of Lapok in Miri and about 5 hours drive from Miri City.
Speaking at the event, Abang Johari congratulated the residents of the thirteen longhouses and advised them to take good care of their newly installed SARES systems.
He said, “The State Government has allocated RM2.37 billion for rural electrification projects for 2019 and 2020. We target to achieve full electrification by 2025 even though it is much more challenging to deliver electrification for our rural folks.”
“In 2009, rural electricity coverage was only at 56%. Today, 93% of rural households have already been electrified and 96% overall throughout Sarawak. We will step up our efforts to ensure every household is provided with electricity in the next 5 years,” he elaborated.
Under SARES, each household is provided with 3,000Wh of renewable energy a day, which is sufficient to power up a typical rural household’s basic needs such as fans, television, lighting, small refrigerator and rice cooker.
This allows the communities to reduce the need to travel to town frequently to buy provisions and diesel to run their generator sets.
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