Kite Causes Total Blackout

DENPASAR ~ The entire island of Bali was plunged into darkness on Sunday evening, with the blackout caused by a flying kite lasting for up to three hours in some places, officials said.

The kite, which instead of string or fishing line, as is commonly used, was tethered to wire and hit overhead power lines at a transmission station at Situbondo in East Java just after 4pm, causing a massive short circuit, Wayan Radika, spokesman for state electricity firm PLN, told The Bali Times.

At the Situbondo station, spokesman Abdul Rahman told The Times that the kite “could have belonged to any of the residents in Situbondo.

“It became entangled in an electric transmitter, and its string, which was made out of a wire thread, triggered a short circuit within the transmitter, causing such enormous effect in East Java and Bali.”

Four regencies in East Java province were also affected, he said.

PLN Bali lost 226 KWH (kilowatt-hours) of electricity, costing the company a loss of Rp150 million (US$16,286), Radika said.

“We’re always losing money anyway,” he added, “because we haven’t raised our rates since fuel prices were raised” in 2005.

PLN has long urged residents living near its transmission stations not to fly kites in the areas.

Meanwhile, later in the week, particularly on Thursday, high winds across southern parts of Bali caused disruption to power supplies in many areas, and the Bali International School in Sanur was evacuated after falling trees damaged cars, leading to fears the school building would be damaged. (BT/RD)

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