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Java-Bali Power Grid Under Stress

Coal and Equipment Limitations Leave No Surplus Energy 'Safety Margins.'

(5/15/2004) The Java-Bali power grid is on a 'stand-by emergency status' with only around 100 megawatts of surplus stand-by power available to meet peek demand.

The State Power Company (PLN) is taking steps to replenish depleted coal and fuel oil stocks which have grown dangerously low due to a shortage of coal on the domestic market and disruptions in rail service to the Suralaya (Java) power generating station. Because of coal shortages the Suralaya Station has been producing only 2,200 megawatts of power, down from its normal 3,400 megawatts.

According to sources at PLN, domestic coal producers have reduced their supplies to power generating stations preferring to ship coal to overseas markets now paying a premium for coal.

PLN officials are hopeful to be able to weather the crisis of the next few days until new fuels stocks can be put in place. Officials warn, however, that any unexpected breakdown in the generating equipment could compel PLN to implement staggered brown outs across the region to keep supply in tune with peak power demands.