JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s capital Jakarta and some neighboring provinces on Java island have been hit by a major electricity outage after problems at a number of power stations on Java, the country’s state electricity company PLN said in a statement on Sunday.

A man talks with a security officer at a Commuterline station as it is closed due to a major power blackout in Jakarta, Indonesia, August 4, 2019. REUTERS/Gayatri Suroyo

The mass rapid transit (MRT) system in Jakarta has also had to evacuate passengers from trains after the power outage that began just before noon local time (0500 GMT), the company that operates the system said in a statement.

It wasn’t immediately clear how long the disruption, spread across areas that are home to more than 100 million people, might last. The blackout appeared to have affected most areas of Jakarta, prompting the use of generators in some offices, malls and apartments.

PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) said disruption in an unspecified transmission system “resulted in the failed power transfer from east to west,” leading to electricity tripping out across all power plants on the central and western sides of Java.

Asked how long the outage was likely to last, a PLN spokesman told reporters via text message: “We are still working on it. Please pray it can return to normal soon.”

The city of Jakarta is the center for government and business in Indonesia and is home to more than 10 million people, with around three times that many people living in the surrounding towns. The capital does suffer periodic blackouts, but usually short-lived and confined to certain areas.

PLN said there were also power outages in some areas in Banten, West Java and Central Java provinces, home to nearly 100 million people.

AIRPORT, HOSPITALS OPERATING NORMALLY

Operations at Jakarta’s international airport remained normal using back-up generators, its operator said via Twitter.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said in a post on Twitter that hospitals were also operating as usual. “For the people of Jakarta whose relatives are being treated, all public hospitals in Jakarta have generators and all are functioning well, so that there is no disruption in health services,” the official wrote.

But at train stations, hundreds of passengers were left stranded after commuter lines stopped working.

“The train stopped all of sudden, we had to wait for a long time,” said Ella Wasila, a passenger near Sudirman station in downtown Jakarta. “There were so many babies in the coach, they were crying, and people were shouting ‘open the door’.”

The power outage also disrupted some cellular phone networks and provider Telkomsel said it was compiling an inventory of the number of devices affected by the power cut.

The blackout also caused traffic lights to go out in some areas of the capital, creating traffic jams and with police officers brought in to manage the situation.

Some Indonesians took to Twitter on Sunday to express their frustration.

A Twitter user with the handle @henrydjunaedi said in a post: “I must admit, I’m panicking a lot. I’m a cashless guy, this is nightmare…So far I can only find one working ATM in a 10 km radius. Restaurants and markets are closing or not accepting card payments.”

Additional reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe, Angie Teo and Fransiska Nangoy; Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell



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