Tue, 01 Mar 2011

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:State-run electricity company PT PLN has offered a 20-percent discount to industries if they use electricity outside peak hours between 23.00 – 07.00.

The electricity rate for off-peak usage will be Rp550 per kilowatt per hour (kWh) from the previous Rp730 per kWh.

According to CEO Dahlan Iskan, PLN is having difficulty supplying electricity between 17.00 and 22.00, or during peak hour. Households and industries are “competing” to use the electricity. As a result, electricity consumption in Java-Bali has risen by 100 megawatts to 18,365 megawatts.

The increase has raised PLN’s operational costs at a time when world oil prices are sky-high. In January, the power plant’s oil consumption in Java-Bali reached 442,500 kiloliters. “This is hard, especially when the gas quota for PLN is always cut,” he said.

The discount, Dahlan said, was expected to encourage industries to change their working hours and benefit staff as they would have to be paid overtime rates. Dahlan estimated businessmen would be happier to pay the staff more rather than paying high bills.

The offer was welcomed by the industries. “We are waiting for its implementation,” Franky Sibarani, the Indonesian Businessmen Association’s deputy secretary, said yesterday.

So far, 15 percent of the company’s production cost is allocated to electricity bills. With the discount, he said, production costs would drop by three percent. “Therefore, the electricity bill will be 12 percent from the total production cost. That is a significant amount,” he said.

However, he estimated that not all industries would welcome the discount. Only industries operating 24 hours a day using high technology and minimal manpower would benefit. “The electronic, steel and textile industries will benefit,” he said. These industries can easily change their work shifts to intensify production.