Employees halted work, visitors at shopping malls rushed out of the buildings, traffic turned into a gridlock and passengers at the airports ended up sweating when a massive blackout occurred in the capital on Wednesday afternoon.
A main power grid in Gandul district in Depok, south of Jakarta, underwent technical problems on Wednesday, leading to a blackout in many parts of Jakarta, state-owned electricity company PT PLN said.
PLN's distribution manager, Paranai Suhasfan, said the blackout started at 1:12 p.m. when a generator tripped at the Gandul power grid.
"An Inter Bus Transformer (IBT) in Gandul went out, followed by disruptions at the Muara Karang and Lontar power grids due to power overloads," he said.
This promptly led to simultaneous outages in 17 substations in Jakarta, including in Cengkareng, Grogol, Muara Karang, Kebon Sirih, Senayan and Bintaro, as well as outages around these substations, he said. The blackouts ended at dusk.
PLN's communications manager, Bambang Dwiyanto, said the company had repaired the power meter on Wednesday night so there would be no further blackouts on Thursday.
"The Gandul power grid will operate normally as of tomorrow morning and will continue to supply electricity to all generators and power grids in Muara Karang and Lontar," Bambang said.
The massive blackout also caused gridlock in several parts of the city as the traffic lights stopped working.
According to the Jakarta Police traffic management center's twitter account, the traffic from Cideng to the Tanah Abang flyover in Central Jakarta was backed up after the traffic lights went out.
Similar conditions also occurred on Jl. Kebon Sirih and Jl. KH Hasyim Ashari, also in Central Jakarta, and Pluit in North Jakarta.
Jakarta Police traffic center head, Adj. Comr. Tri Wibowo, told reporters that the police were quick to deploy additional officers to help manage the situation.
He said traffic police had deployed two or three officers to intersections where traffic lights had failed to avoid traffic becoming too chaotic, particularly during the evening rush hour.
The blackout also affected the commuter-line systems in Keba-yoran and Palmerah where trains were stopped for about two hours due to the power blackout.
The power glitch caused inconvenience at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, causing delays to some flights and long lines of passengers waiting to check-in at Terminal 2D.
Corporate secretary of Angkasa Pura II, Hari Cahyono, said that although the blackout lasted for about an hour, there was no disruption to airport operations.
"We have eight back-up generators that support priority lanes, so all operations went well, especially those relating to safety," he said.
Garuda Indonesia spokesman Pujobroto said during the blackout, 27 Garuda Indonesia flights were delayed for between 15 minutes and 60 minutes as some work needed to be done manually, including boarding processes and flight-documentation preparation.