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A Struggle with Power

Shortages in Java-Bali Power Grid Result in Rotating 'Black-Outs' Across the Island.

(6/3/2003) Mechanical breakdowns in the power generating capacity from Java have reduced by 10 megawatts, or 3%, the total power supplied to Bali by the State Power Company (PLN). In layman's terms, 10 megawatts is roughly equivalent to the power consumption of twenty 3-star hotels.

In order to minimize disruptions PLN has introduced a rotational program of rotating "black outs" during which power is turned off to selected areas of Bali between the hours of 1800 and 2200 each day. With PLN trying to minimize power cuts to the City of Denpasar and the main hotel areas in south Bali, the areas affected to date by the power cuts have included Tejakula (Bulelang), Tenganan (Karangasem), parts of Bangli, Klungkung, Gianyar, Tabanan and some sections of Denpasar.

Bali's total available power is equal to 450 megawatts with 200 megawatts provided from power sources in Java, 130 megawatts from gas turbines located in West Bali at Gilimanuk, and 120 megawatts from the Pesanggaran electric substation in Bali.

A Bali Specific Problem

Bali's heavy reliance on the tourism industry has presented specific problems for PLN in deciding how to overcome the current shortfall in the power grid. Typically, rotating "black outs," when required, are scheduled to avoid periods of high productivity by preventing power cuts to industrial manufacturers during normal working hours.

When, however, the area affected is tourism-intensive, such as Bali, determining what exactly represents "peak hours of production" become problematic. The current solution being pursued in Bali by PLN calls for power to be reduced several hours each evening in rotating areas of the island, trying, as much as possible, to avoid power cuts to areas with heavy hotel concentrations.