|Sunday, 21 February 199
Total Black Out in Madura
Surabaya, Kompas Online
Electric current from the PLN (State Electricity Enterprise) to whole the island of Madura fell out since Friday (II/19) afternoon around 13.30 after the sub marine cable was suspected damaged as it was hooked by a vessel which was anchoring around the Gresik - Surabaya waters. The sub marine cable with a capacity of 150,000 volt supplies electricity for the whole island of Madura. The PLN source of East Java said that the reparation takes at least one month.
A team consisting of the Tanjungperak Surabaya harbor master, the PLN for Central Channeling and Regulation of the Load of Java Bali Sector Surabaya, and PT Pelni (as agent of the shipping company of the ship suspected to have damaged the sub marine cable at the sea bottom) are intensively investigating the suspected ship. The ship would actually sail from Surabaya to Singapore, carrying containers.
PLN sources said that this was not the first time. In 1995 a similar cable was suspected to be crashed by a cargo vessel Ocean Capitan. But the captain declined the accusation to have crashed the marine cable. The first case was handled by Gresik harbor. The second occurrence happened in October 1996. At that time the cable of the main electrical relay stations in Gresik, Tajungan, Kamal (Surabaya) was hooked by the anchor of mv Festivity under the flag of Panama. The cable was damaged. PT PLN submitted a claim of more than Rp 2 billion to the ship owner in Singapore. The claim was submitted to the international court, but the compensation was far below and not in proportion with PLN's claim.
Assisted by a generator
PLN's Distribution head for East Java, Ir Hizban Achmad clarified to reporters, that temporary electricity in Madura was assisted by three units of mobile generators from E. Java. The emergency support of 250 kVA each gave priority to serve public facilities like hospitals and drinking water companies.
Saturday (II/20) afternoon, PLN Semarang, Central Java sent two mobile generators as support of 350 kVA each. Similar support is asked from PLN Jakarta and Bandung," said Adyana, Deputy Chief to control PLN Distribution in East Java and Surabaya. Hizban stated that for the time being public facilities would be given priority for serving electricity while for households were attempted rented diesel engines.
There are 281,000 clients in Madura with a PLN load of 60-72 MW with following breakdown: Bangkalan - Gili East 20.61 MW, Sampang 15 MW, Pamekasan 19.4 MW, Sumenep 16.6 MW.
Reserve generation set
Eventhough there is a black out in Madura, the manufacturers are in general not too concerned, because many are using gensets for their production activities. On the other hand housewives in whole Madura are forced to look for alternatives as their electric water pumps can't be utilized.
Herman, head of an elementary school in Bangkalan described Bangkalan as a very quiet town. Shops are closed in the afternoon where they usually closed on 20.00. There are almost no TV's on except by families who are usually using accumulators. "We use candles,." said Herman, while his neighbors are using oil lamps. An employee from a clinic in Bangkalan said they had no problem as they had a reserve genset.
Supardi, the genset operator of the fertilizer plant PT Madura Guano Industry Limitted in Kamal said that their reserve gensets were quite sufficient and they hoped that their export to Japan, Australia and Korea would not be disturbed. Resli, an inhabitant from Sumenep said that the citizens were confused when there would be electricity again, some said after one week, others after one month.
Yakobus Subianto (41), owner of the ice plant Tirta Abadi in Sumenep said that he paid average Rp 1 million for electricity . Compared with a genset there was not much difference. He had a genset but only with 30 kVA while he usually used 100 kVA from PLN. If the falling out of electricity continued it would threat production activities.
The same was said by Panut, an employee of the Telecommunication Branch Office. Their operation was not much disturbed because they had a genset with a capacity of 100 kVA. Bangkalan was forced to ask a genset of 1500 kVA from Surabaya. Bangkalan has a capacity for 7.704 phone connections while there are only 6,112 sets installed. The available genset is sufficient for electric requirements, the central telephone and AC.
The head of the Regional Office for Industry and Trade said that small and medium industrial entrepreneurs with no genset reserve the black out was very damaging. In Madura are at least 68,733 medium and small units of industry, starting from food and beverages till textile. They form 11 percent of the whole industry in East Java. (*)
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