State power firm PT PLN’s Batam subsidiary says the port city is facing a power crisis amid plans to export electricity to Singapore and to supply power to neighboring Bintan Island.
PT Pelayanan Listrik Batam (PLN Batam) communication manager Agus Subekti said Friday that the company’s Panaran natural gas-fired power plant had been out of service since mid-May due to a damaged generator.
“The damages were unexpected. With two months needed to procure the machines’ spare parts, we are hoping that we will overcome the electricity deficit in early July,” he told The Jakarta Post.
He added that another power plant, the 110-MW Tanjung Kasam coal-fired power plant, was currently still in its trial phase.
Equipped with European-made power machinery, the Panaran power plant, which had been in operation since 2005 before breaking down, provided 154 MW to PLN Batam’s total power capacity of 318 MW.
The malfunction has caused an electricity shortage of up to 40 MW, triggering the company to implement scheduled blackouts in Batam from two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half hours a day.
Agus said PLN Batam had tried to compensate for the ongoing power deficit by buying energy from three industrial areas in Batam that ran their own power plants and had power to spare.
“However, we are still facing a power crisis,” he said, adding that the company was now looking for more private companies that it would buy power from.
PLN Batam currently has a total of 226,645 subscribers, including 196,294 domestic consumers. The remaining subscribers are business groups.
The blackouts have disrupted Batam’s small-scale businesses.
Nono Sikumbang, who runs a small-scale business focusing on refilled drinking water, said that he was forced to temporarily stop operations when the power outages occured.
Meanwhile, Syamsul, who owns photocophy shop in front of Putera Batam University, said that when blackouts happened during the peak hours, his business slowed from 1,500 sheets of paper to only 500.
Riau Islands University spokesman Rahmat Riyandi said PLN Batam had breached the 2009 Public Services Law that required public institutions to uphold decent service standards.
Also, according to a decree from the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s directorate for energy utilization, PLN Batam should give a 10 percent discount to customers should they run 10 percent below minimum standards. (asa/mtq)