Cease monopoly by the PLN!

Undang-Undang Dasar, Pasal 33, Ayat 2:

Cabang-cabang produksi yang penting bagi Negara dan yang menguasai hajat hidup orang banyak dikuasai oleh negara.

(Indonesian Constitution, Article 33, Verse 2:

Production sectors that are vital to the state and that affect the livelihood of a considerable part of the population are to be controlled by the state.)

The particular verse above, I recalled very well, was taught in the Economy lessons back at school as a justification used by the government to hold a total monopoly over the so-called “vital assets”. Rather than being used as a means to benefit the Indonesian populace, that verse has so far been used an attempt by the government to avoid the private sector from getting their hands on those “vital assets”, hence they gain a total control over the main public uses in Indonesia such as water, telecommunication, fuels, and electricity.

However, the irony remains that the verse is not upheld well today. So why should PLN keep monopolising the Indonesian electricity supply?

Let me reveal them one by one…

Water. The PAM (Perusahaan Air Minum, Drinking Water Company) had thought that they controlled the national tap water circulation fully. Really? Hmm…. What about the wells in the villages? Do they control them too?

And recently, we got the privately-owned Tirta Kerta Raharja company supplying tap water in certain Areas of Tangerang.

Telecommunication. Telkom, which used to be the sole provider of telecommunication in Indonesia, was a monopoly holder, which went along lawfully with the Indonesian Constitution.

However, things went wrong when Telkom turned into a semi-privatised company (Temasek, anyone?). Telkom is no longer an Indonesian government-owned company; it is a partial Singapore-partial Indonesian owned one!

Now before I start claiming anything, let me see what the Constitution says about foreign ownership of Indonesian natural resources, taken from UUD, Article 33, Verse 3:

Bumi dan air dan kekayaan alam yang terkandung di dalamnya dikuasai oleh negara dan dipergunakan untuk sebesar-besarnya kemakmuran rakyat (The land and the waters as well as the natural riches therein are to be controlled by the state to be exploited to the greatest benefit of the people).

I leave it up to you to draw up your own conclusions.

Fuel. Pertamina used to hold total monopoly over our fuel supplies too, until this Malaysian company:

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A Malaysian-owned outlet in Veteran Street, Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta

together with the Dutch and the Californian started to play a role in Indonesian public fuel consumption.

Electricity. Now THIS is the remaining monopoly in the country.

If there is any other electricity supplier in Indonesia, I would no doubt have switched to that one from this anger-rousing PLN. Pardon me for deriving my discontentment from my own experience here, but I had taken note that PLN had turned off the electricity in my house district for more than ten hours yesterday. In developed countries, this would no doubt have led to a massive economy disruption, but we in Indonesia seem to take this kind of thing for granted.

The blackouts following power cuts in several areas this week should lead some of us to wonder: Is it still reasonable to have PLN monopolising our electricity consumption, while PAM, Telkom, and Pertamina no longer does?

We had a bigger blackout almost three years ago, a massive power outage that affected some 100 million people in Java and Bali, making it the largest blackout in world history. It was caused by a lack of generation capacity. Not much a different case from today, apparently they haven't learned much lesson over the last three years.

All these blackouts, now and then, should lead us all to wonder if PLN is still competent to hold on strongly to the 2nd verse of the 33rd Article of our Constitution. The government should realise that since PLN is no longer able to provide satisfactory service to the people, they should consider opening the path for private-owned companies to provide it.

JAKARTA: An official at the Jakarta chapter of the state electricity firm, PLN, said Tuesday the firm could not provide a fixed schedule of future blackouts following power cuts in several areas this week.

In the past two days, PLN turned off electricity in several locations in Jakarta and Tangerang due to a 1,000 megawatt (MW) shortfall in its Java-Bali power plant.

In response to the shortfall, PLN took measures to save power consumption by reducing 88 MW from the total 4,100 MW used during the day and 3,900 MW at night in Jakarta and Tangerang.

"I do not know yet whether we will continue the power cuts Wednesday because I am not the operator directly in charge of executing the decision in the field," PLN Jakarta public relations head Azwar Lubis told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, power cuts were made in several areas in Cawang in East Jakarta, Tangerang in Banten, Duren Tiga in South Jakarta, Duri Kosambi and Kembangan in West Jakarta, and Bekasi.

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Kampret Nyasar  – (30 May 2008 at 10:31)  

.. when there is a [strong] will. there is a way [to overhaul and revitalize those state-owned enterprises to becoming competent and efficient]. Really...

It's all now a matter of they have enough guts to make the call and quit this monkey-business-minded-policies that decaptivating their prospects and performance..

I guess it all starts from upholding & implementing the law/rules at its strictest..

Korupsi tembak mati.. anyone in favour? :-)

Not untill such "sticks" is fully enforced without selective enforcement [kebijakan penerapan hukum tebang-pilih], then there'd never be a [significant] change we have been dying for..

Nice to have found your blog and thanks for the earlier visit. May this becomes the start of an active blogship. Visit us more often at http://pralangga.org

Hugs and kind regards from West Africa :)

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