APSN Banner

Massive blackout affects tens of millions across Indonesia

Sydney Morning Herald - August 4, 2019

James Massola, Jakarta – A massive power failure has hit the Indonesian capital of Jakarta and surrounding cities, potentially affecting more than 30 million people.

State electricity company PLN said the outage began at 11.50am local time (2.50pm AEST) when Gas Turbine seven at its Suralaya plant shut down.

Gas turbines 1-6 were then tripped and shut down too and the company's gas turbine plant at Cilegon also then shut down. The blackout has lasted almost six hours.

Jakarta's train system and its underground metro, the MRT, has also stopped working.

The outage has affected the entire Greater Jakarta region – known as Jabodetabek, which is a portmanteau of Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi – and which is home to about 30 million people.

It also extends to parts of the neighbouring provinces of West Java and Central Java. West Java and Central Java are home to millions of more people.

Major phone networks including Telkomsel, XL and Indosat are also working only intermittently. Traffic lights have also reportedly stopped work in at least some parts of Jakarta.

I Made Suprateka, the Executive Vice President Corporate Communication for PLN, said the company "apologises profusely for the blackout that has occurred, right now we are continuing to normalize [the situation]".

"We promise to make and exert every effort to improve the system so that electricity returns to normal," I Made said.

The disruption of a 500 kV transmission line in West Java had made the situation worse, he said.

PLN released a second statement a few hours after their first again apologising for the situation, saying the blackouts occurred due to disruptions on the transmission side of the air and the 500 kV barrier.

This resulted in the energy transfer from east to west failing and was followed by trips across all power plants on the central and western sides of Java.

"Once again we apologize and understand all customers affected by this disturbance, we promise to make and exert every effort to improve the system so that electricity returns to normal," the statement said.

Other than Jakarta, the full list of cities and regions affected by the outage includes Bandung, Bekasi, Cianjur, Cimahi, Cirebon, Garut, Karawang, Purwakarta, Majalaya, Sumedang, Tasikmalaya, Depok, Gunung Putri, Sukabumi and Bogor.

It is not clear if a magnitude 6.9 earthquake on Friday night off the coast of Java, which killed five people, had had any role in disrupting electricity supply.

Social media is buzzing with complaints of disruption due to the blackout – from traffic jams to the inability to process digital payments and other online services.

Commuters have been evacuated from the main train lines as passengers throng stations waiting for the trains to start operating. Buses are still operating but are accepting only cash payments as digital payments are not working.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/massive-blackout-affects-tens-of-millions-across-indonesia-20190804-p52dqe.html