Many small and medium businesses were forced to close their doors during Sunday's blackout. (Antara Photo/Dhemas Reviyanto)

PLN to Compensate Residents Affected by Blackout

BY :NUR YASMIN

AUGUST 05, 2019

Jakarta. State-owned utility company Perusahaan Listrik Negara has promised to compensate customers who were impacted by the worst blackout Indonesia has seen in almost two decades on Sunday.  

The company, known as PLN, will take 20 percent to 35 percent off the customers' electricity bills this month or off the next electricity token that they purchase, PLN's acting president director Sripeni Inten Cahyani said on Monday. 

"We apologize for the blackout. Aside from continuing to recover our system, we are also calculating compensations for our customers. The amount will be deducted from your next electricity bill or from the pre-paid tokens," Sripeni said.

PLN's own regulation states that customers who pay their electricity bill on a floating rate are entitled to a 35 percent discount on the bill in the event of a widespread blackout. Those who pay a flat rate get only a 20 percent discount. 

For pre-paid customers, PLN will give a discount equal to the discount for regular customers, which will be deducted from the next pre-paid token they purchase. 

For premium customers, the PLN compensation will be calculated according to the Service Level Agreement agreed by both parties.

Sunday's blackout affected nearly 70 million people in Greater Jakarta, West Java and Banten. Combined, the economies of these three regions make up more than 33 percent of Indonesia's total economy. 

Businesses said financial losses from the blackout could reach up to trillions of rupiah as many small and medium businesses were forced to close up shops on Sunday. 

The blackout reportedly stemmed from an unexpected interference in the Ungaran-Pemalang high-voltage transmission.

PLN spokesman I Made Suprateka said overgrown branches from sengon trees were caught up between high-voltage connection cables and caused a short circuit. 

The transmission is a key link that connects power plants in East Java to the energy-hungry provinces in the west of the island – the most densely populated in Indonesia. The disruption brought on a domino effect as power plants in western parts of Java — unable to cope with the demand surge — were shut down one by one to avoid damage. 

By midday Monday, several powerplants have been recovered, including Suralaya, Priok, Cilegon, Muara Karang, Salak, Saguling, Cirata, Muara Tawar, Indramayu, Cikarang, Jatiluhur, West Java and 32 high-voltage transmissions.

“We are doing the best we can to normalize all the failing powerplants and transmission. Up to now, several powerplants have re-entered the powergrid and added 9.194 megawatts to our network," Sripeni said. 

The blackout has sent people scurrying for alternative power supplies. According to GoogleTrends, the top search topics for Jakarta, Banten and West Java residents are now home generators, power banks and emergency lamps.

PLN has not confirmed when power will be completely restored but promised they will put their best effort to recover all the disrupted powerplants.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo called out the state-owned company on Monday for being "slow on their job."

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