PLN Says It’s Powerless to Help

DENPASAR
The Bali Times

PLN has said it cannot fix Bali’s worsening electricity shortage and has called on the provincial government to find and fast-track its own solutions to meet the island’s growing demand for power.

PLN’s Bali branch spokesman Agung Mastika said old and dilapidated generators at Bali’s three power plants have caused recurring electricity blackouts and are responsible for the island’s waning power supply.

Technical disturbances at the gas-powered Gilimanuk plant in Jembrana and faulty underwater cables that transmit power from Java to Bali were primarily to blame, said Mastika.

He also cited frequent disturbances in generators at the diesel-powered Pesanggaran plant in Denpasar and the gas-powered Pemaron plant in Buleleng as causes of Bali’s critical electricity shortage.

“All the machines are very old,” he said. He pointed out that older generators also required more fuel.

“They were made in the 1970s. Although we have conducted routine maintenance, technical errors still occur, thus decreasing the power supply.

“The only solution is to cut the power temporarily.

“The old machines should be overhauled, in order to increase capacity and reduce the risk of rotational blackouts,” he said.

“However, it needs a lot of money and it cannot be completed in a short time.”

The Pesanggaran plant runs five generators with a capacity of 182 MW. Pemaron has two generators with a capacity of 80 MW while Gilimanuk operates only one machine with 130 MW.

With an additional 200 MW from Java, Bali theoretically has a total power supply of 582 MW.

Mastika said the electricity usage in Bali was increasing with the rising peak load already reaching 515 MW.

PLN urged the Bali administration to create alternative energy sources and to accelerate a proposed high-voltage Bali Crossing Transmission project that could provide up to 2,000 MW.

The project has been opposed by people who fear it will damage the West Bali National Park ecosystem. But cultural and religious objections to the scheme have largely been overcome by Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika.

Consumer Protection Agency (LPK) Bali Chairman Putu Armaya said Bali should be self-sufficient in electricity.

“We cannot continue to rely on the existing supply,” he said. “Solutions must be found.”

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