Residents of several areas of Jakarta are still without electricity after damage to transformers in Muara Karang, North Jakarta, triggered blackouts throughout the city Wednesday.
Meltdown: Workers repair a transformer at a power plant in Muara Karang, North Jakarta. The transformer exploded on Wednesday, leaving many parts of Jakarta without power for several hours. JP/R. Berto Wedhatama
Power went out when a measuring device on one transformer broke off and hit a second transformer at a power plant operated by state-owned power company PT PLN, Purnomo Willy, PLN Jakarta and Tangerang general manager, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
The two damaged transformers carry 700 of the 1,000 megawatts produced by the Muara Karang power plant, he said.
PLN cut power to some areas in May due to a leaking oil pump in a turbine machine at the same power plant.
The leak had reduced the plant’s capacity, forcing PLN to implement rotating blackouts in the capital.
Wednesday’s outage forced some Jakartans to live without electricity from 9 a.m. into the afternoon before power was restored.
The affected areas were Muara Angke, Pluit and other areas in North Jakarta; Cengkareng and Kebon Jeruk in West Jakarta; Kebayoran Baru and Mampang in South Jakarta; Budi Kemuliaan and Kebon Sirih in Central Jakarta and parts of Tangerang, Banten, including Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
The airport’s emergency generator immediately began operating when the power died and there were no disruptions to airport activities.
The blackout also crippled traffic lights in the affected areas, fouling traffic for hours.
Ratna, a 27-year-old employee at a media company in Buncit Raya, South Jakarta, said her office had been notified about the possibility of blackouts at 9 a.m.
Several minutes later, the power went out and the office’s emergency generator kicked in, she said.
“The emergency generator had to be turned off at 1:30 p.m. Before that, the office’s air conditioner was also turned off making us feel hot,” she said.
She and her friends eventually decided to take their lunch break at a nearby mall, prompting her boss to joke that the office had been moved to the mall.
Rizka, a 21-year-old student at a private university in Kebayoran Baru, said her boarding house had lost power at 11 a.m.
“The power was still down when I left my boarding house at 3 p.m.,” she said.
She added that since she had assignments and her cell phone was running low, she decided to go to the office to finish her assignments and recharge her phone.
Purnomo said PLN employees were busy repairing the transformers and had already restored electricity to most areas.
“Since part of the electricity grid in Jakarta is supported by our plant in Gandul, Depok, we were able to restore power to some areas quickly,” he said, adding the Gandul plant has a total load of 1,500 megawatts.
Residents of Muara Karang, Pluit and surrounding areas are still waiting for power to be restored because the Muara Karang steam power plant is the sole source of electricity for the area, he said.