Story of the Efforts of the People of the Island of Pemalai to Fill Energy

%When IKN Comes, Indigenous People Are Worried That Traditions Will Disappear%

The age of Kuala Kampar Sub-District is 75 years old, but the area which is centered on Penyalai Island, the headwaters of the Kampar River, has not had electricity 24/4 hours straight. In fact, Penyalai or also called Mendul, is the biggest rice barn and coconut producer in Pelalawan, Riau besides sago and areca nut.

In fact, in 1990, a Diesel Power Plant (PLTD) was built but it only lit Teluk Dalam Village. Starting in 2014, the local government has slowly expanded the power grid to the east, Tanjung Sum Village. To the west, just up to the border of Teluk Village. It was only in 2018, through the village electricity program, that the electricity network covered the entire Penyelai Island.

Currently, the PLTD owned by the State Electricity Company (PLN) Riau-Riau Archipelago under the Pangkalan Kerinci branch, produces power or a peak load of 1.2 mega watts. This electric power is supported by seven diesel engines. Six of them are for daily operations. While one more as a backup in case of damage. Every week, this PLTD arrives at least 30 tons of diesel oil which is transported by ship.

People have not been able to enjoy electricity all day long. PLN only sets the turn on time from 5.00 pm to 7.00 am, or a duration of 14 hours.

“It’s been basic from the start like that. PLN has the right to consider usage. Indeed, the 24-hour request has reached the center. But there are still many considerations,” said Iskandar, Teluk Dalam PLTD service and control officer.

Syarifah, a Tanjung Sum woman, said that lately the electricity in her house has been on a little faster, at around 16.30. It’s just that conditions are not normal. The first half hour there is always a blackout pause of up to 20 minutes because there is simultaneous use, especially for daily needs such as cooking rice and siphoning water with a pump.

At home, Syarifah uses a number of electronic items. In addition to cooking utensils and a water machine, there is a refrigerator, washing machine and electric iron. To keep the electricity supply stable, he and 10 of his siblings—including small children—at home manage the use of these items one by one.

Wash clothes, night or dawn. To draw water from ditches to baths and other reservoirs, three times a night.

For lighting, nine light bulbs are installed, only for important areas. The porch and living room lights are often turned off. Unless there is a family event or big event at home. When sleeping, only a bright room with a small lamp. In a month, the Syarifah family can spend Rp. 200,000 to buy electricity tokens.

In addition to power and duration limitations, the PLN network is also not yet connected to all residents’ homes on Penyelai Island. Poles and cables are only attached to the shaft line or the main village road. Meanwhile, the houses in the alleys—local residents call them ditches—are connected through local residents’ self-help and mutual cooperation.

Misbun, Head of RT01, Teluk Village, said he had electricity in the past year. His village had been electrified two years earlier. His house is five kilometers from the transformer and mains on the village main road. He and the residents volunteered to build halves of coconut, areca nut and wild wood to stretch cables along the alleys to get to the residents’ homes.

Luckily, Teluk Village Owned Enterprises (BUMDes) participate in meeting the electricity needs of the residents by providing cables.

With the agreement, residents buy tokens or electricity pulses to the village business unit. As experienced by Syarifah, Misbun and local residents also experienced power outages at crucial hours, such as late at night (maghrib).

At home, Misbun has a television, a washing machine and an electronic rice cooker. Plus seven light bulbs measuring 10 to 15 watts for lighting. He had no intention of buying a refrigerator because his neighbor’s had a lot of damage due to insufficient electricity. Without the food freezer alone, he has to spend Rp 100,000 to buy electricity credit per month.

Even though mutual cooperation provides the poles and cables, the installation of the installations in residents’ homes is still carried out by officers from the National Electric Company. Not free, depending on the amount of electricity to be installed. One house varies between IDR 1.5 million-IDR 3 million.

It’s different in Tanjung Sum. Because the BUMDes does not provide cables, residents who live in the hallways have to incur additional costs for adding more cables to the house. This can cost up to IDR 4 million.

“Many people complain about the installation of electricity. Even so, it’s still hanging on . Especially those who live far inland because of small cables. From 10:00 pm onwards, it will be normal again,” said Syarifah.

Iskandar understands the complaints from PLTD customers. He did not deny that power failures were also caused by natural factors. The generator engine problem is only a small part and it doesn’t happen every day.

Disruption occurred to the poles and cables that spanned the vacant and still wooded area. There, monkeys often hang. “Now efforts have been made to install cable protection.”

Regarding residents providing poles and buying cables, he said, that was an act of impatience. PLN is indeed gradually building the electricity network to the corners of the island. In fact, it has become a program. It should have been completed in recent years delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Penyelai Island, although PLN has built PLTD since 1990 and the electricity grid has gradually expanded, in the past two years, the majority of residents still use diesel engines in their homes.

Electricity from the d ongfeng engine was indeed the first source of energy before the PLTD network ‘shocked’ the houses of residents in remote parts of the island. In Sungai Upih Village, one dongfeng with a capacity of 175 even supplies electricity to 20 houses. Residents form groups to buy machines as well as appoint administrators as operators and manage monthly bills from members.

Not only at home. Like it or not, a number of public facilities in Penyalai also have to use diesel to support their daily activities, because electricity from PLTD is not available during those hours.

While office work is completely electronic, such as computers, laptops, printers or just to charge cellphone batteries.

Like in the Bay Village office. Diesel always turns on during office hours, between 8.00-4.00 pm. Even if the arrival of guests, can until evening. At least, dongfeng 24 which is connected to a five kilometer dynamo, behind the office, consumes an average of 25 liters of diesel per week Sometimes add another two liters.

So is the Sungai Solok village office. The difference is, the diesel engine in the village with the largest area compared to the existing village in Penyalai, only functions until 2.00 in the afternoon. That way, the village only needs two liters of diesel per day. The oil doesn’t always run out.

Another thing is Teluk Bakau Village. They don’t have a diesel engine, because they currently live in the posyandu building. But there is a generator that can be transported whenever needed, such as when there are village activities.

Start with solar panels

Apart from diesel, all village offices in Penyalai also have solar panels. It’s just not a priority to support electricity in the office area. Because the electricity generated is still limited. Duration and flame time are also not too long. Especially when it’s cloudy. Coupled with minor damage to the installation also inhibits the electrical power that can be produced by one piece of panel board.

The Teluk Village Office, before using diesel, used to turn on solar electricity first. That is, if the weather does not support the sweltering alias. When the electric power is reduced, they immediately switch to diesel, especially when there is a lot of office work. Because it definitely requires more electricity.

“The problem is, the installation is easily damaged. One of them is an inverter. In one year, something is bound to break. Sometimes it even catches fire,” said Anton Sujarwo, Head of Finance for Teluk Village.

Meanwhile, the Teluk Bakau Village Office, because it doesn’t have diesel, uses solar panels every day. No matter the weather conditions. Early in the morning, the office staff has to charge the laptop battery and turn on the wireless fidelity (wifi) machine. For about six years, solar panels have supported this village office’s electricity.

Not only in public facilities. Residents with upper middle class economy also have solar panels but still have a limited function or just for lighting.

Syarifah, for example, apart from being connected to PLTD electricity and having a diesel engine at home, still uses solar energy electricity to save on the cost of purchasing tokens. at least, diesel engines at home are also rarely used.

The Teluk Village government plans to provide solar panel assistance to houses that have not yet been connected to electricity, especially those located at the far end and in areas that are still somewhat forested. This program has been outlined in the APBDes, this year, as many as three panels and will target Banjar Village, Teluk Tengah Hamlet.

There were about eight families there. Pemdes has also asked PLN to add electricity to the settlement.

On Penyelai Island, only nine houses actually enjoy 24-hour electricity, in Teluk Dalam Village. One of them is Ramli’s house in Parit Melati. His residence is close to two sources of electricity from solar energy. First , from PLTD,   second ,  from diesel engines

Drinking Water Company (PAM) which is only a few meters away. He and several residents get free electricity from PAM during the day. Ramli’s two children, happen to work at PAM.

Suriadi Darmoko,   Finance Campaigner 350 Indonesia , said that the development of renewable energy generators must pay attention to the readiness of the community or society, the capacity of the community or community must be built first.

With consumers spread across four villages, said Moko, if the process is good and correct, PLTS should be able to operate according to its operating age. “Good and true means there is assistance to potential beneficiary residents,” he said.

Government support can be through funding, one of which is through funds with the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) scheme. If the funding support comes from a JETP grant, he said, it would directly contribute to increasing the renewable energy mix and reducing emissions in the electricity sector.

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