Friday, May 2, 2008


Check all power towers: CM
Something is not right after collapse of third structure, says Musa


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman yesterday directed all related agencies to conduct a thorough examination on power transmission towers in the State to prevent further collapses. The directive came after another pylon along the Kayu Madang Universiti Malaysia Sabah power line came crashing down on Wednesday evening, bringing the total number of tower collapse along the same line to three in just 10 days. Just a day before the 132kV tower in Kampung Lokub, Kuala Menggatal collapsed, an emergency pylon in Suang Parai, Inanam, toppled to the ground while being installed, killing a technician and severely injuring four others. The first incident occurred on May 21 when a Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd’s (SESB) high tension cable tower in Suang Parai crumbled to the ground after some of its support crossbars were carted away by thieves, causing hours of blackout to 90 percent of the State. “This is the third time this has been happening. It looks like something is not right. It is important for the relevant quarters to conduct an examination. “We will know whether there is any criminal element involved because people may be stealing the structural members of the towers. I want the police to keep a watch on these areas,” said the Chief Minister when met after launching the State- level Kaamatan celebration in Beaufort. Musa said that since the areas where the towers collapsed were occupied by squatters, the police should investigate whether those people had a hand in the theft of the structural members. “Stealing structural members of towers is unhealthy and can result in loss of lives (when the towers collapse). This is most disappointing,” he said and expressed his regrets on the chain of incidents that have caused over a million Ringgit in losses to the State’s sole electricity provider, SESB. Musa said the Government was viewing this matter very seriously and would discuss it at the next State Cabinet meeting to seek the best approach to address the problem. Meanwhile, SESB Managing Director Jr Baharin Din said the second pylon located near the UiTM campus in Menggatal also collapsed due to missing structural members of the tower. “We estimated over 60 steel crossbars were taken from the lowest part of the tower, causing it to be unstable and collapsed under the weight of the cables,” he said to reporters when visiting the latest collapse site located just over a kilometer from the one in SuangParai. “SESB realised the structural members were missing during an examination of power transmission towers after the April 21 tower collapse and had lodged a report,” be said. Baharin added SESB workers immediately started to replace the missing structural members of the tower and had installed 40 of the 60 missing members by yesterday afternoon. However, the tower was found to be unstable and it was deemed dangerous to continue the repairs. “As expected, the members were unable to hold up the tower and it collapsed. However, there was no disruption in power supply as power to that line had been de-energised since the April21 incident,” he said. He urged the public who came across anyone behaving in a suspicious manner to make a police report or contact the SESB at 088-282455r the emergency line 15454. There are a total of 39 towers along the Kayu Madang-UMS power line that stretches for roughly about 16 kilometers. Some of the other towers were vandalized, but their damage were minimal and they had been fully repaired, according to SESB.