Dennis (second left) mingling with the people at Long Kevuk.
MIRI: Never in their dream did the Penan community in Long Kevuk in the interior of Baram expect to enjoy a reliable and yet free electricity supply.
Due to the geography and topography of Baram with scattered and isolated settlements and longhouses, Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau said it was not only almost impossible but also would be costly to provide the community with the amenity through the power grid.
However, as an alternative, the government under Sarawak Rural Electricity Supply (Sares) turned to solar system to provide the area of around 500 people with more stable and reliable electricity supply.
“The system was implemented in Long Kevuk in June last year. The solar system is also used in other Penan settlements in Baram such as Long Latik, Long Jenalong, Long Win, Long Bemang, Long Tepen, Long Lunyem and Long Aton,” said Dennis, who made a stop at the settlement to meet and get feedback from the community.
“With the installation of solar system, the community is able to use and enjoy electricity for the whole day and night,” he said.
For safety reasons, the assemblyman advised the people not to make extension to the wiring system by themselves and not to switch on too many electrical appliances at one time and for long hours.
An elated villager, Jely Jangin, said they now have a more comfortable life.
“Even though we are far behind others at least we are able to have and experience things that we didn’t have before. We are thankful and grateful to the government for supplying us with electricity,” said Jely, who is the headman’s son.
”We are also able to save some money for other things. Before this, we had to spend between RM300 and RM500 a month for diesel to run our generator. It costs us a lot,” he added.