Kites behind recent power outages in Bali, PLN says

File photo of fish-shaped kites during the 2007 Bali Kite Festival in Sanur. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
File photo of fish-shaped kites during the 2007 Bali Kite Festival in Sanur. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The cause of recent power outages in Bali have been traced back to kites, with state power utility PLN now calling on local residents in the province to avoid playing kites near electricity grids. 

“We are urging residents not to play near the electricity grid, not only it is not safe for the individuals, it can also result in power outages and affecting other people,” Adi Priyatno, general manager of PLN distribution unit in Bali, said in a statement. 

According to Adi, 74 power outages that occurred this month alone have been traced back to kite-related incidents. 

On Sunday, officers from the Denpasar City Police arrested a 50-year-old kite owner who allegedly caused an explosion at a local electrical substation in South Denpasar. 

“The suspect flew his kite and then left it without supervision, and because of this the kite broke from its thread and fell on the scene, resulting in the explosion and burning of one of the substations,” Jansen Avitus Panjaitan, Denpasar City Police chief, said. 

June to August is known as the kite season, or musim layang-layang, here in Bali. The sight of thousands of kites being flown from different parts of the island are common during this time of the year, with kite flying being a part of Bali’s centuries-old tradition. It’s also around this time that the Bali Kite Festival is held annually, though the event has been canceled this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Kite-related incidents are sadly not uncommon, and while kites have evidently been the culprit behind the island’s power outages, it has also caused some freak accidents recently. This includes the death of a 61-year-old man from Denpasar, who lost balance while he was riding a motorcycle and collided with a wheel loader after the string of a kite got tangled around his neck. 

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