The Gili islands have never been known for their consistent supply of electricity or fresh clean water, That should all change this season as PLN and a local water company have finally been given the go ahead by local authorities…
State electricity company PLN plans an undersea cable network to supply electricity to three tourist islands Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno, all in North west Lombok regency, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).
The chairman of PLN’s office in NTB, Anang Widjajanta, said Saturday that his company had started building the infrastructure needed to support the undersea cable network in Pemenang district, on the northernmost tip of Lombok Island near the three other islands.
“We’ve started working on the supporting facilities on the land and an undersea survey is being carried out. It is possible that it will be completed next August or September,” Anang said.
The undersea network will span 4.6 kilometers with a maximum depth of 30 meters. It will be connected to the a diesel-fueled power plant in North Lombok.
“PLN has earmarked Rp 40 billion to finance the project,” he said.
He said that the total electricity demand for the three islands would reach 1.5 megawatts, of which Gili Trawangan accounted for 1.2 MW.
Currently, electricity in Gili Trawangan is supplied by a 1.5 MW diesel-fueled generator, with 350 kilowatts going to Gili Air and 170 kilowatts to Gili Meno. As a back-up power supply, PLN has installed 200 solar panels on Gili Trawangan, but they only operate during good weather. Bad weather usually disrupted power supply on the islands because the solar panels failed to function and shipments of diesel fuel were hindered due to high tides.
“In order to guarantee electricity supply without any disruptions, the installation of the undersea cable network is considered the most effective,” Anang said.
North Lombok Regent Djohan Sjamsu welcomed PLN’s plans and said that the three tourist islands had attracted more than 300,000 foreign and domestic tourists.
“With the undersea cable network being built by PLN, I hope electricity supply problems at the three islands will be settled. Moreover, it will make the conditions there more convenient as visitors will not be disturbed by noise of the diesel-fueled power generator,” he said.
In addition to improved electricity supplies, Djohan said that his administration would also build water processing facilities for the three Gili islands.
The North Lombok regency earlier this month signed a memorandum of understanding with PT Sikem Aneka Indonesia, a local clean water consulting firm, for the construction of facilities, earlier he said..
“Now, clean water is becoming a very expensive commodity on the three islands as it has to be transported by boat from Lombok, at a cost of Rp 75,000 per cubic meter,” he said, adding that the new facilities were expected to help promote tourism.
The North Lombok regency is a new autonomous region that was separated from West Lombok regency three years ago. The new regency has locally generated revenue of Rp 23 billion, of which tourism contributes 70 percent. Djohan said that he was confident that a greater number of tourists would flock to the three islands as a result of improved facilities.