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NEWS UPDATES 28 September 2010

Indo industries get power boost

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Major industries will no longer be asked to avoid overburdening state electricity utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara by shifting production days to weekends.

In 2008, PLN told industrial companies in Java and Bali they had to shift some production from peak times during the week and use generators as often as possible.

On Monday, the secretary general of the Ministry of Industry, Agus Tjahajana, said PLN could now provide enough electricity on the Java-Bali grid to satisfy all customers and the government would withdraw the request.

The move is a sign that the beleaguered utility is taking steps toward its goal of providing the country's booming economy with the power it needs.

PLN's director of operations for Java and Bali, Ngurah Adnyana, said the company had enough generating capacity since 840 megawatts of capacity at power plants in Labuhan, in Banten, and Muara Karang, in Jakarta, had come onstream.

Ngurah said PLN now had the capacity to support usage of 17,500 megawatts on weekdays, with up to 2,000 megawatts as backup. "There should be no worries about the supply," he said.

The Ministry of Energy has said the Java-Bali grid, which supplies 80 percent of Indonesia's power needs and has a capacity of about 20,000 megawatts, must grow by at least 5,000 megawatts a year to meet demand, which was growing at 9 percent a year.

This was assuming economic growth of 6 percent.

The grid has been afflicted with frequent blackouts in recent years as PLN has struggled to keep up with demand .

But at the end of July, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Energy Minister Darwin Zahedy Saleh promised a "blackout-free" era, saying PLN had enough capacity to end scheduled rolling blackouts.

Two days earlier, PLN's president director, Dahlan Iskan, promised an end to the blackouts.

Their pledges came as PLN customers were receiving their first power bills after a rate rise.

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