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Jakarta Post

'We could have been faster': PLN reports to Jokowi on blackout recovery

  • Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman
    Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, August 5, 2019   /   11:23 am
'We could have been faster': PLN reports to Jokowi on blackout recovery President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (center) accompanied by acting PLN CEO Sripeni Inten Cahyani (left) and Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan during their meeting at PLN's headquarters in Jakarta on Monday. The president asked PLN for clarification regarding the blackout on Sunday. - JP/Seto Wardhana/vja/19 (JP/Seto Wardhana)

State electricity company PLN has admitted there were inefficiencies in its working system that caused the delay in dealing with the major blackout that hit Greater Jakarta and West Java from Sunday noon.

“We admit we’re doing this little by little. I’m sorry, Pak, the process is slow, we admit it,” PLN acting president director Sripeni Inten told President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo during the President’s visit to PLN's office on Monday, witnessed by journalists.

“If the frequency drops, there are concerns that power plants that have been back operating as normal can lose control. So we need to be extra careful at times of emergency. Everything is down, so we need to turn it back on one by one carefully and with caution,” she explained. “We admit that in the process there are some actionable items that could have been done quicker to bring power back to normal.”

Inten told Jokowi, who demanded PLN to convey what went wrong in layman terms, that there were “disruptions” in the backbone electricity system that supports power for Java and Bali.

The two systems, North and South, each have two circuits that provide the backbone for the 500 kilovolts that support Java and Bali, she explained. One of the north circuit points, Ungaran-Pemalang, Central Java, faced disruption followed by the second circuit, creating unstable voltage and frequency in transmission that then led to the major blackout in Greater Jakarta and several cities in Java.

At times of emergency, there needs to be special and cautious effort in balancing out the system in terms of voltage and frequency for the power generators to not cause further problems, hence making it difficult to stabilize the power quickly, said Inten.