Installing underground electric feed – Indonesian style

The Electric Company installing underground feed along our street. It was a fascinating process to watch. I didn’t see large construction crews with digging machines—no hardhats, flagmen, traffic cones or even steel-toed shoes. Those things exist here but only used for mining or highway construction. I assume this is because labor is quite a bit less expensive than machines. The only way a machine makes sense is when time matters more than cost.

Private property and businesses are very close to the street. To dig up and replace the cement would be more expensive and disruptive. So, to lay the underground cable, they put rolled plastic piping which appears to be about 1-1/4″ diameter, and insert the cable in the plastic piping.

The tricky part is getting the plastic pipe under driveways and surface obstacles. They start by digging a hole roughly 8′ long, 3′ wide and 10′ deep. A worker is stationed at the bottom of the hole. Next, they take a 16′ 6×6 and set it vertically in the hole. As you can see in the video, the workers on top rock the post back and forth to drive 3′ sections of 2″ drill-pipe. The man in the bottom adds section of pipe until they have drilled about 30′ to the next hole. They manage to hit the next hole dead-on every time. I see no lasers or levels.

Take a close look in the hole here and you can see the man who adds lengths of pipe. Another interesting fact is the wood here is all hardwood, so those beams are heavy. More than 3,000 types of hardwood can be found in Indonesia’s rain forests.

So, what do they do with all the dirt? No dumptrucks, backhoes or excavators, just shovels and carungs (fiberglass woven bags) are used. The fill the bags with soil, which reminds me of red, Georgia clay, and stack them neatly. When they finish their work in the hole, they fill it with the bags of soil.

Indonesians generally seem layed-back and not in a hurry. But they can also be industrious, especially in groups. At times they reminds me of American farmers. They are creative and resourceful with tools on-hand.

Wires running all over the place are common here. It looks like a big mess, but I’ve never had the power go out since living here. That’s saying something because the rainstorms here are torrential.

Check out the shovel. That’s what they use here. for digging deep holes they are ideal—lots of elbow room and you can lift the dirt out easily


These men are horizontally boring a hole 50 feet to the left. They had a two-foot window, which they hit.
removing the drill pipe sections.

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