For Bandung residents, especially the Dago region, it may be familiar to a large pipe extending yellow from the mountains in the upper Cikapundung River to Cimenyan. The flow of water from the pipe leads to an old Dutch heritage building in the middle of a residential area.
This large house with typical colonial architecture is one of the first plants built by the Dutch to illuminate the city of Bandung. From the outside, the building looked like the houses of old Dutch dignitaries, with tall doors and shutters, and black-painted stone walls.
“The Dutch-era Bandung was nicknamed the glittering city of Paris van Java at night. The electricity was from here for the first time,” said Hydro Power Plant Maintenance and Operation Supervisor Saguling UP Sub Unit, Rochmat, met at the Bengkok Hydroelectric Power Plant (PLTA) on Friday (19 / 10/2018).
He revealed, Bandung at the end of the 19th century was still a dark city in the evening. Only government buildings and homes belonging to European citizens have used limited lighting from gas lamps which were then channeled from Kiaracondong.
As electricity grew from water plants, the Dutch colonial government began building hydropower plants. This was done by the Dutch by building Hydropower Planters or Waterkracht Werk Experts aan de Tjikapoendoeng Nabji Dago in 1906. However, because the capacity was too small, the PLTA Experts were dismantled and made a new larger plant, the Bengkok Centrale or Bengkok Hydro Power Plant in 1923.
Three turbine generators made by General Electric PLTA Bengkok alternately operate every day with a capacity of 1.05 MW (3×1.05 MW) each. Raw water of 3,025 cubic meters per second comes from Cikapundung River which is dammed and accommodated in Bantarkawi Dam.
The water from the dam is then channeled to the settling pond, before entering the pond with a capacity of 30,000 cubic meters. From this daily reservoir pool, water is flowed through a fast 870 meter pipe from a height of 102 meters to 3 turbines in the old house which is used as a power house. This rapid pipeline is known to local residents as a giant pipe.
“The water dammed in the Cikapundung River we use to drive the turbine alternately. If three turbines operate at the same time, the water is not enough because of the dry season. The more water entering, the longer the turbine operation,” explained Rochmat.
Overflow water from PLTA Bengkok flows downstream and is used again for Dago hydropower which is about 2 kilometers from Bengkok. Dago hydropower alone has only one turbine, with a capacity of 1×700 Kw.
According to Rochmat, this hydropower is still functioning very well even though it has been operating since 1923. In addition, the building, turbine, inlet valve, transformer, until the control engine is still the same as the original and still maintained. Only a small part of the generator is updated with local components.
“Because of this cultural heritage, we maintain it in accordance with the original. We have not changed it at all, everything still exists since its inception. This hydropower is still operating well, because we do routine monthly and 3 monthly maintenance. the first hydropower management in Indonesia, “he said.
Because it is in the micro hydro category, electricity generated from the PLTA is supplied to a 20 KV medium voltage electricity transmission and only electrifies the local area in Bandung.
“In the past, electricity from this Bengkok supplied Malabar, Dayeuhkolot, and Pangalengan. In addition to Dutch government buildings, electricity was mainly used for radio stations. On Mount Puntang there was a radio station connecting Bandung with The Hague, electricity from here , “said Rochman.
Since 1945, the plant was taken over by the Indonesian government. Currently PLTA Bengkok, is one of Saguling Generators Business Unit (UBP), PT Indonesia Power, a subsidiary of PLN.
Along with the increasing need for electricity in Bandung, PLTA is bent only as a supporting electricity supplier for the city of Bandung, where electricity is supplied from the Java Bali Transmission supply.
The Dutch colonial government bequeathed dozens of hydroelectric power plants (PLTA) in a number of Indonesian regions. Many of these plants are still operating well, one of them is the Crooked Hydroelectric Power Plant in Dago, Bandung City, which is managed by Saguling UP Sub Unit, PT Indonesia Power.
Saguling UP Head of Public Relations, Agus Suryana, said that the PLTA is still able to operate at a maximum of 3×1.05 MW turbines. Even so, the increasing volume of waste and sedimentation is a threat to the plant which was built in 1927.