The Jakarta Post
Power and energy shortages in North Sumatra have taken a toll on the industrial sector across the province as several companies have reportedly closed their businesses.
Head of the Association of Businesspeople Using Oil and Gas (Apimigas) of North Sumatra branch, Johan Brien, said that the supply of oil and gas in the province had dropped by around 33 percent, from 22 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) to 7 mmscfd since August.
Since then the province has been facing energy crisis up to now.
'There are five companies that have closed their businesses due to the energy shortages,' said Johan, adding that the closure had caused massive layoffs of around 5,000 workers.
According to Johan, there are currently 54 big industries that use gas to run their productions. He called on the provincial administration to seriously handle the issue before the situation worsened.
North Sumatra provincial administration secretary Nurdin Lubis confirmed the energy crisis, saying that the administration had formed a task force to deal with the energy and power shortage.
The task force, he explained, consists of officials from the provincial administration, state-owned electricity company PLN and state-owned oil and gas firm PT Pertamina.
Nurdin Lubis said that PLN was building two power plants, a steam power plant PLTU Pangkalan Susu in Langkat regency and hydroelectric power plant PLTA Asahan III in Asahan and Toba Samosir regencies, to meet the electricity demand.
'It is also expected that both plants will support the development of the Sei Mangke Special Economic Zone in Simalungun regency,' said Nurdin on Friday.
Legal and public relations deputy manager of PLN's North Sumatra division, Raidir Sigalingging, said that the province would need energy reserves of at least 30 percent of the total peak demand of 1,700 megawatts (MW).
'The problem is North Sumatra doesn't have that amount of reserves. We are only looking at 200 MW of electricity,' Raidir said, adding that the PLTU Pangklan Susu would be operating in April, 2014 at the latest.