Thu, 21 Aug 2008
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Shopping centers have rejected a planned govt regulation requiring them to switch to their own power generators for ten hours every week starting Aug. 25, citing burdensome extra costs.

The Indonesian Shopping Center Association (APPBI) is not ruling out the possibility of temporarily closing down its operations and staging a rally if the government goes ahead with its plan, chairman Stefanus Ridwan said Friday.

The joint ministerial decree, to be issued Aug. 25, is expected to rule that private offices, hotels and shopping centers in the country cut their electricity consumption by between 10 and 20 percent.

The cuts would save up to 200 MW of power per day.

The decree requires malls and hotels, among other private businesses, to function on power generator for 10 hours every week at their own expense.

Stefanus said the requests would prove too costly.

He said the cost of leasing a set of power generator for five hours a week could reach up to Rp 100 million (US$10,869).

"A mall can spend up to Rp 800 million per month if it uses the generators to supply electricity for 20 hours a month. We could never afford that," he said after a meeting with PLN and the Trade Ministry.

The association is in discussions with PLN on the subject, Stefanus added.

"We are looking for a win-win solution. We are ready to face blackouts," said Stefanus, referring to the penalty for not complying with the planned regulation.

"Our association will choose blackouts over spending a lot of money on generators. Who's going to pay for that?"

"If possible, we will close our malls and stage a rally. We hope PT PLN will not go through with it, considering that we are also their consumers."

He said around 200 members of his association had been reducing electricity consumption by significantly cutting the usage of air conditioners and lights, all at the expense of significant outrage from their customers.

The government last month issued a regulation requiring manufacturers to shift two working days every month to the weekends, but excluded those forced to operate 24 hours a day.

The first regulation, which took effect on July 31 and is expected to last until 2009, involved the Industry Ministry, the Energy and Mineral Resources Industry, the State Ministry for State Enterprises, the State Ministry for Home Affairs and the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry.

As many as 3,000 companies have complied with the first regulation.

Murtaqi Syamsuddin, PLN director for Java, Madura and Bali operations, said the company managed to meet its target of saving an average of 180 MW per day. (ewd)



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