Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) must have the capacity to generate at least 70 per cent of Sabah’s baseload power requirement to solve the issue of power supply disruptions in Sabah.

Its chairman, Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau said SESB is currently only able to generate and own 20 per cent of the power baseload requirement, while the rest is generated by independent power producers (IPPs) before being sold to SESB.

He said the baseload power requirement in Sabah is 1,080 megawatts (MW), but its current maximum power demand is 1,200MW, showing a reserve margin of less than 12 per cent.

“This situation could lead to instability in energy supply, especially in the face of technical challenges,” he said in a statement today.

Base load refers to the minimum level of electricity required that can reliably meet demand over a period of 24 hours.

Madius said that since 80 per cent of Sabah’s power supply is generated by IPPs, SESB’s hands were tied in various issues related to power generation in the state.

He said SESB is operating at a loss because power is purchased from IPPs at RM0.43 per unit but sold to consumers at RM0.34 per unit in accordance with the tariff set by the federal government.

As such, he said, SESB hopes the government will place confidence and trust in SESB so that the utility company can generate its own electricity without depending on IPPs.

Madius said that, for now, the stakeholders only view SESB as the “middleman” in managing the electricity supply in Sabah.

“All stakeholders need to re-assess the financial situation of SESB and generate a more stable power supply. Do not think SESB can only buy electricity supplies from IPPs to sell to consumers,” he said.

“SESB owns assets in the transmission and distribution network of energy supply but not in electricity generation. However, we actually have many skilled workers who are not only capable of doing research but also capable of operating their own electricity generation in Sabah,” he added.

Madius, who is also the Tuaran Member of Parliament, proposed that Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) and the Sabah government distribute natural gas by giving priority to electricity generation to enable effective generation in an effort to provide uninterrupted power supply to the people of Sabah.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency