Huge power failures in Indonesia's Java, Bali

  • World
  • Thursday, 18 Aug 2005

By Muklis Ali

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Power supplies to large areas of Java and Bali islands in Indonesia, including the whole of the capital, Jakarta, were disrupted on Thursday, state electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) said. 

"There was a disruption in the Java-Bali transmission network. It was quite big and we are still checking for the cause," said Mulyo Aji, an official at the company. 

At least three major power plants on Java -- Paiton, Muara Karang and Suralaya -- were down, he later told a radio station. 

"With 30 percent of the supply gone, there's nothing we can do. Jakarta was completely blacked out, the supply to the city has gone ... Now some areas (in Jakarta) have started to regain power," Mulyo told Trijaya radio. 

"As far as I know, there's no terror issue here," he added. 

Many buildings in Jakarta were operating on their own backup generators. 

The blackout stopped electric trains operating around the Indonesian capital, Antara news agency reported. 

Indonesia's railway company, PT KAI, was working to move electric trains from railtracks that were also used by non-electric trains connecting Jakarta to other cities on Java. 

"We are still counting the number of electrical trains that have stopped," Antara national news agency quoted Ahmad Sujadi, a KAI spokesman, as saying. 

Other radio reports and witnesses said Jakarta's main international airport was also affected by the outage. 

High global oil prices have seen Indonesian authorities introduce various power saving schemes in recent months, including rolling blackouts in the capital and other cities. 

Some 30 percent of its plants use oil products such as diesel and fuel oil, 40 percent coal, 19 percent natural gas, 5 percent geothermal energy and 6 percent hydropower. 

PLN, which has 21,700 megawatts (MW) of electricity capacity all over Indonesia, had said it will cut oil use at power plants to five percent in the next three years. 

Some PLN power plants in East Java plan to switch to natural gas from diesel oil as soon as next year, as U.S. firm Amerada Hess begins gas supply in 2006 and Australia's Santos Ltd in 2007. 

(Additional reporting by Achmad Sukarsono and Telly Nathalia) 

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