(Raising Costs aka Strangled People's Neck is Always the Very 'Smart' Way of The Government).
Kado Pahit Tarif Listrik.
GOVERNMENT give (again) as a bitter gift in 65th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Indonesia, last week.
The bitter gift is, that the government's plan to raise electricity rates an average of 15% starting in January 2011.
(This raise following after the raise of 10% on last July 2010. Means, the people of Indonesia, who majority are very poor, got electricity raise in every six month. Means also that actually the electricity tariff raise to 25 %. A tremendous 'good sign' for investors).
Its base of the current speech of President for the 2011 state Draft Budget introductory financial memorandum mentions that subsidizing the energy sector, particularly electricity, will be reduced from Rp 55 trillion in 2010 to a Rp 41 trillion in 2011.
If this proposal will be approved by the Parliament, means, only within six months the electricity consumers in this country must scream twice. The first scream occurs when the electricity tariff increase on average by around 10% on July 1, 2010.
The raisings happened in the middle of the terribly press of the more expensive (and strangling) the prices of the daily basic commodities, where the people's buying power is never been increase. That is why, through this same forum , at that time, we had assessed that the rise of electricity tariffs in the middle of the price volatility is extremely unwise policy.
It is not wise because the reality shows that the people whose country has been independent 65 years is still too fragile to bear the state's decision to reduce electricity subsidies. The reality is , how could people to bear the cost of the raising electricity tariffs, while even to pay debts about US$3,- just could not afford, and they better choosing to suicide.
Government should not (pretending) think that people have become increasingly prosperous, so is worth to increased their life loads.
A similar situation was still surrounds the plan on raising electricity tariffs in 2011. In fact, this big slam would be felt not only by people, but also by the industrial world will be increasingly short of breath because of the high production cost. In the end, increasingly eroded the competitiveness of industry and will slowly die.
Raising the basic electricity rates in the middle of the bad management and still very bad electrical services , this bad decision is obviously an embarrassing decision. Until now, the public does not believe the State Electricity Company (PLN) has done for the sake of efficiency to reduce losses.
Plus, there is no definitive answer when our electricity stopped from black out at any moment the government want to do. In fact, every time present a new helm in PLN, always drove the empty promises that there will be no more electricity black out.
In fact, under the new directors of PLN now, it was announced about that no more blackout, (how dare) directly announced by the President.
While promises not kept yet, but electricity rates continue to be raised. That's not mirrored a responsible of a state corporate (neither a truthful government).
As the single sole holder of rights to provide electricity for millions of people in this country, should not be difficult for the PLN leader to make this state-owned electricity to be efficient and quick to find a breakthrough. Since the government has no rival, the PLN did not bother by thinking about competition in the electricity sector.
But, something that should be easy , had been made extremely difficult to be practice. So, the short cut by raising the electricity tariff is just for the sake of smooth cash flow.
If they usually only can raise the rates, what the use to change PLN helm to someone new?
The government having no political will to find another way to cover the swelling power of electricity subsidy. We, for example, didn’t see yet the government effort , to trying hard to reduce the electricity supply costs by replacing the primary energy source plants, from fuel oil to coal or gas.
So the government should stop taking the easy way to overcome the electricity for the people. And stop giving bitter gifts to the people. The present of PLN is not primarily to mathematics the state expenses , especially mathematics the PLN's cash flow in micro. But (please do) just for the benefit (and the prosperity) of the people ( of Indonesia).
(Raising the cost is always the most ‘smart’ decision as the only way out of this government. If that’s the only way they always can make, means, even a bechak driver could be a helm, even worth to be a president in this country?)
(Media Indonesia editorial, Monday, August 23th 2010 / RossNugroho