Monday, 29 July 2013

Bakun Dam not cause of June 27 outage — Sarawak Hidro

KUCHING: Sarawak Hidro Berhad has again defended the Bakun Hydroelectric Dam as not the probable cause for the June 27 statewide blackout.

In a statement issued yesterday, Sarawak Hidro managing director Zulkifle Osman said the blackout may have been due to other factors.

“Bakun plants’ drop in load would not have caused a blackout. There could be other contributing factors such as system under frequency load shedding scheme, response of other power plants in the system, and stress condition of the transmission network,” he said.

The statement was issued in the wake of the possible move by Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) to sue Sarawak Hidro for the frequent blackouts including the statewide blackout on June 27.

Public Utilities Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan had said on Friday the legal recourse was one of the moves being looked into as it is provided under SEB’s power purchase agreement with Sarawak Hidro.

Awang Tengah had also said review of initial incident reports from both SEB and Sarawak Hidro and initial site investigations conducted by officers from the Electrical Inspectorate Unit of the ministry confirmed that the blackout originated from Bakun.

Awang Tengah explained it happened because of Bakun’s three generating units’ sudden and uncontrolled drop in load of about 650MW, while SEB’s system was not capable of supporting three large, simultaneous tripping of Bakun generating units.

However, according to Zulkifle, Sarawak Hidro, including Alstom engineering design and expert, to date have yet to conclude the findings into the cause of the blackout.

He said it was due to pending information from the relevant parties in Sarawak such as on sequence of events, disturbance records and other power plant behaviour during the incident.

Alstom is a leading energy solutions and transport company headquarted in France, which is active in the field of hydroelecric power generation.

On media report that the Public Utilities Ministry is appointing its independent consultant, he said Sarawak Hidro welcomes the move and hopes this exercise will be the check and balance of the whole scenario in Sarawak.

“And we hope we can compare notes to improve for the benefit of Sarawak. The findings of the study should be used to enforce Bakun’s plants as well as other defence plan in the grid system to avoid risks of another system collapse in the future,” he said.

The consultant, said to be international, was announced by Awang Tengah to undertake the independent study to identify the underlying factors contributing to the recent blackout incident and the measures to mitigate the incident.

It is expected to complete by end of August.

Zulkifle also said an independent consultant had been appointed by the federal Ministry of Finance to look into Bakun’s plants and Sarawak system. “However, the report is pending input from relevant parties,” he explained.

Despite what had happened between them, he assured discussions on technical and commercial matters are conducted between Sarawak Hidro and SEB on continuous basis.

SEB is Sarawak government-owned energy company, while Sarawak Hidro is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Minister of Finance Incorporated Malaysia under the federal government which owns, operates and manages Bakun.

The June 27 blackout which started during evening peak hours plunged most of Sarawak into darkness for several hours, and in some places until the next morning.

The business community were the worst affected by it as operations had to be shutdown.

Awang Tengah had also said the blackout had affected public confidence on SEB.-theborneopost

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