‘Pay up power bills or supply will be cut’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
SEVERAL members of the State Legislative Council called for clarification regarding the issues of unpaid electricity bills, public lighting and alternative energy sources yesterday during discussions over the budget allocation for the Department of Electrical Services (DES), which is under the Prime Minister's Office.
The questions and concerns raised during yesterday's deliberations over the annual state budget on various energy-related were addressed by Energy Minister, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar.
For instance, in response to council member Dato Paduka Hj Idris Hj Abas' question of action to be taken against those with unpaid electricity bills, Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said that the department had conducted several roadshows to remind the public to pay their electricity bills.
"Those who fail to comply, even after several warnings and reminders, will find that their power supply will be cut," said the minister.
Another query put forward at the meeting was the lack of street lighting along some stretches of the Tutong-Belait highway. Dato Paduka Hj Puasa Orang Kaya Seri Pahlawan Tudin noted that some of these areas are accident-prone, and a source of concern for some members of the public.
There is already an allocated budget for the installation of these public lights, answered the minister, and once approved, will be used to set up the lights along the highway and surrounding areas.
He cautioned, however, that the cost of running these lights can be very high. The amount of energy these lights consume is also considerable, with 150 light fixtures using up more power than is used to power the whole of the Temburong district.
"We must consider this issue conservatively and prudently," he said.
Meanwhile, another council member proposed that Brunei should consider alternative power sources if it wants to reduce on usage or gas and diesel.
Dato Paduka Hj Yunos Mohd Noh suggested that to conserve hydrocarbon-based energy sources, street lights be powered using solar energy and that houses also have their own solar-powered energy supply.
"If these houses have excess electricity from the sun, perhaps the DES can buy this power from them for use in other areas," he added.
Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said that the feasibility of using solar and hydro-power is being considered, but not in the short term.
The Brunei Times