Major power outage hit hotels, F&B businesses in Jakarta and surrounds

A massive power outage that struck Greater Jakarta and West Java last Sunday affected businesses in the hotel and F&B industries across the two provinces. The blackout, which lasted between five to 12 hours, was said to be the worst of its kind since 1997. In fact, some parts of the affected areas were still suffering from power supply disruption on Monday.

Hoteliers were hit hard by the hours-long blackout which plunged the city into darkness and left it in disarray, prompting some guests to cancel their reservations, according to Hariyadi Sukamdani, chairman of Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHRA).

He said the incident disrupted the cashless payment method, forcing hotel guests to pay with cash, hence causing problems as some of them did not have cash on hand. They also could not withdraw money from ATMs due to the power failure, prompting some guests to make cancellations.

“Hotel guests who planned to spend on other things also decided to not shop at all,” he said.

Hariyadi said that the major blackout also forced hotels across Jakarta and West Java to fork out extra money to purchase diesel fuel to power their generator sets. Costs varied from one hotel to another, but it took approximately 1,200 litres of fuel to run the machines on Sunday.

On the other hand, some hotels experienced a surge in occupancy during the blackout, thanks to residents who sought convenience and solace at the establishments. But this was only apparent for hotels located in densely populated, affluent neighbourhoods, such as the Kelapa Gading area in North Jakarta and Serpong area in South Tangerang.

“There was no water at home (so) they went to hotels to take (a) bath. In Serpong, for example, the hotel occupancy rate soared to almost 85 per cent,” Hariyadi said.

Krishnadi, chairman of IHRA Jakarta chapter, said that such an occurrence was rare and temporary. He received a report that generator sets in some hotels became faulty as a result of overuse during the huge blackout.

Herman Muktar, chairman of IHRA Bandung chapter, said that the blackout also caused similar disruption in Bandung, West Java. Many hotels in the city, especially the two-star and non-star properties, were not equipped with generator sets.

“Foods in restaurants became rotten because refrigerators did not work during the power outage. (Hotels) faced big losses because after sunset, they were forced to close as they couldn’t serve guests in darkness,” he said.

He added that hotels that did not have diesel generators were the most disadvantaged because their guests immediately checked out to look for better hotels.

However, Herman was still relieved as the incident took place on Sunday, when the occupancy rate was around 35 per cent on average, cushioning the impact of immediate checkout by guests.

But unlike Jakarta, he did not receive any report about occupancy surge for Bandung hotels as a result of the blackout.

When asked if IHRA would impose any fines or sue the state electricity firm PLN, Haryadi said the association would wait upon the company to materialise its promise to compensate for the losses.

Sripeni Inten Cahyani, acting president director of state power company PLN, said on Monday that the firm would reduce the electricity bills of customers affected by the blackout. The amount depended on the length of the blackout.