TNB spending RM10m to upkeep mini-hydro dams

PETALING JAYA (Aug 2, 2009): After spending close to RM70 million to build 37 mini hydro-power dams, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) is forking out another RM10 million, or so, to rehabilitate almost half of them.

The root of the problem has been found to be the failure of an outsourcing exercise by TNB  to Projass Engineering Sdn Bhd was awarded a "10-10" years contract in 1994 to rehabilitate, operate and maintain mini hydro-power dams in the peninsula.

However, TNB holds that out of the 37 dams, only 17 are functioning, 10 are under maintenance and the other 10 are useless.

"We are closing down these 10 mini hydro-dams," said TNB senior vice-president Datuk Abdul Razak Abdul Majid when met in his office recently.

Declining to apportion blame to any party, he said the national electricity company will be taking back the maintenance operations of the operational dams.

"We have taken over the responsibility of maintaining these dams and those which are rendered non-operational, we shall close them down," he said.

The abandoned dams are in Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Terengganu, Kedah and Perak. The Hulu Langat mini hydro-dam in Selangor is being turned into a museum.

Projass Engineering's directors are Mohamed Zain Mohd Yusoff and Khalid K.M. Haneefa. Its shareholders are Mega Equity Sdn Bhd, Faridah Che Yusoff. Mohamad Afif Che Yusoff, Nusteq Holdings Sdn Bhd, AJZ Corporation Sdn Bhd, ABB Nominee (Tempatan) Sdn Bhd, BOC Nominees (Tempatan) Sdn Bhd, Tien Soepartinah Muhammad, Awang @ Mustapha Yusoff, Teqmavest Sdn Bhd and Pembenaan Projass Sdn Bhd.

Mini-hydropower projects had slowly become a thing of the past and lost their relevance as rural areas began to get electric supply from the national grid.

The mini hydro-dams in the peninsula have a total generation capacity of 16.185MW. Sabah has seven such dams which produce 2.35MW and Sarawak five dams with total capacity of 5MW.