SOME 120 residents in Ara Impian and Ara Idaman protested against the development of a main substation in Jalan PJU1A/19 Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya recently.
Their concerns about the Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) substation included noise and sound pollution, health fears over possible radiation exposure and a drop in property values.
Some of the residents said they were not aware that a main substation would be built in the area when they bought their houses 10 to 15 years ago.
The Ara Impian Residents Association (AIRA), representing its residents, have written to the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) since 2013 to voice their displeasure.
Despite the residents’ objections, AIRA chairman Jonathan Bong said TNB had organised a meeting on April 3 and announced that it had received a development order (DO) for construction works from the council.
However, the RA’s requests to view the DO from MBPJ and TNB have been fruitless.
Bong wants MBPJ to issue stop-work order to TNB and its contractors and to work with TNB to identify a more suitable site for the substation.
“There is only one access road to this neighbourhood,” said Bong, adding that there were 385 houses in Ara Impian and more than 400 houses in Ara Idaman.
Their other grounds of objection include increased traffic congestion and inconvenience to residents should the road be used to facilitate construction works.
Bong added that while they understood the need to upgrade the power supply in view of new developments in the vicinity, the residents could not accept that the substation needed to be constructed in the middle of a residential area.
Residents are also unhappy that hoarding has been installed around the project site without any signboards to inform the public about the project.
Bong said that they had also written a letter of objection to the office of Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali but had not received a response to date and expressed disappointment with their councillor, TNB and the council.
Ara Idaman Residents Association pro-tem chairman Albert Lau said that they had been working in tandem with AIRA.
“As far as we are concerned, we do not want it around,” he said.
“In any development taking place anywhere, the views of the people or residents must be obtained,” said Kota Damansara assemblyman Halimaton Saadiah Bohan, who was also present.
“In this case, the residents are voicing several concerns including possible risks to their health, so I think that the state government or council must take an initiative to do the necessary research before allowing any developments to take place,” she said, adding that the safety, health and comfort of residents can be affected.
Halimaton added that if for certain reasons, MBPJ does not take action, she will take action through the state government.
When contacted, MBPJ councillor in charge of the area Suriase Gengiah said the land had been gazetted for TNB.
Suriase added that residents can visit the Petaling District Land Office to view the DO while the council should not be blamed for the development as the land belonged to TNB.
“It is important to supply power to the area as it is a developing one,” he said, adding that there are many developments coming up, including condominiums.
He added that he was looking into the concerns of residents and was in the midst of collecting more information from MBPJ’s Planning Development Department about the project and expected to obtain it after the Hari Raya festivities.
In an email response, TNB corporate affairs and communications senior general manager Datuk Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Amin said TNB had received the DO from MBPJ in Nov 2014 and subsequently, a Building Plan for the main substation (PMU) in March 2015.
“The DO has been shown during a briefing to residents on April 3,” he said, adding that based on MBPJ’s advise, copies of the DO were not released.
“Only MBPJ has the authority to release the copies to anyone.
“We were allocated 1.2ha of land and only this area was identified in the development plan,” said Mohd Aminuddin, adding that the residents were fully aware of the substation’s construction through numerous briefings held by TNB.
“Currently, the preliminary works being carried out include installation of hoarding and initial groundwork to properly install the project signboard by July 30, 2015.
“No major significant works will commence until all the requirements set by MBPJ are fulfilled and the construction is being done in accordance with conditions set by MBPJ as per the issued DO, which addresses noise and pollution,” he said.
He added that the electromagnetic field (EMF) measurements was at a safe limit for human exposure as indicated by the World Health Organization (WHO) while four dialogues were held with residents concerning these matters between 2013 and 2015.
“During the construction, the access will be through TNB’s existing right of way which has been approved by the Forestry Department.”
Mohd Aminuddin said that residents’ access road to the neighbourhood will not be used during the construction stage and will not cause any constraints or inconvenience to them.
“The land was given in 1997 by the developer of this residential area as a site for a substation which was finally endorsed and gazetted by the state.
“There is a very urgent need to build the substation due to the increasing electricity supply demand at Ara Damansara,” he said, adding that power supply to the area was presently “borrowed” through cables from substations located outside the Ara Damansara vicinity.
“These substations have reached maximum supplying limit to cater to their own surrounding areas.
“As such, the existing electricity supply needs to be diverted and reconnected to the customers surrounding these substations.
“In order to ensure residents of Ara Damansara receive reliable power supply without experiencing blackouts or shortages, the development of this substation is highly critical,” he said.Share on Facebook