Bali Blackouts: Now PLN Wants a Six-Month Study

JAKARTA ~ An upgrade of the power transmission line from Java to Bali will be part of a six-month feasibility study conducted by public power provider PLN due to start next month.

PLN said the upgrade, proposed to improve the efficiency of electricity distribution in Bali and Java and estimated to cost US$340 million, would be financed by multilateral agencies. The Asian Development Bank last month announced a $100-million concessional loan to Indonesia specifically to finance a PLN Bali upgrade.

PLN’s national director of planning and technology said last Friday the study would take six months to complete and also would involve assessments of proposals to bring electricity from Malaysia to Sumatra and thence to Java and Bali, the so-called ASEAN Grid, a proposal that has been on the drawing board since the 1970s.

One plan to solve Bali’s chronic and worsening power shortage, promoted by Governor I Made Mangku Pastika, is for a high-voltage line on high pylons across the Bali Strait and down the western coastline to Denpasar.

Meanwhile, PLN has been criticised over its pre-paid voucher scheme. Bali’s Consumer Protection Agency (LPK) chief, Putu Armaya, said this week the system should be reviewed because consumers were disadvantaged by its inefficiency, having to pay a higher rate and finding vouchers were difficult to obtain.

PLN spokesman Wayan Redika said 700 Denpasar region consumers had subscribed to the pre-paid system since it was introduced in 2004. Most subscribers were expatriates and PLN expected the number to grow, he said.

This week PLN continued its programme of power cuts but added a series of unexplained blackouts during daytime hours in wide areas of southern Bali.

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