The state electricity company (PLN) has grabbed a few headlines recently, and there's good news and not-so-good news.
The first piece of good news is that there hasn't been a power cut in Jakartass Towers for at least a month.
There hasn't been a power cut loads of other houses either, but that's because, according to Tito Nurbianto, deputy to the state minister for housing, at least 100,000 government-subsidized houses are without electricity supply.
Citing a ministry report, Tito said PLN had failed to meet the demand for more than 36 megawatts of electricity to supply all new residences built under government commission. The residences, he said, included houses, low-cost apartments - also known as Rusunami - and the so-called Simple Healthy Houses.
There are several private houses without electricity supply as well.
To cope with the growing demand, PLN on June 8 had to introduce an immediate increase in electricity installation fees of up to 300 percent for new customers in Greater Jakarta.
PLN president director Fahmi Mochtar said Tuesday the new fees were effective mid-May and not actually an obligation.
"With the limited capital for expanding transmission, PLN can only serve a limited number of new customers. As a solution, we offer new customers an option to pay actual full costs for the installation for quick connection."
"We will keep serving customers who wish not to pay that full cost, but they will be included in our waiting lists until the capital for transmission expansion is available."
He also said, the company had only allocated Rp 1 trillion to meet the demand for new electricity installations for 1.3 million subscribers. The figure, he said, should ideally be Rp 3.2 trillion.
Fahmi noted that only 65 percent of Indonesians had access to electricity. Reaching the remaining 35 percent, he said, was getting more and more costly as many of them were located in remote areas.
The repair was part of routine maintenance at the power station to ensure a steady supply ahead of the presidential election on July 8.
Do you see the connection?
Also thinking ahead, PLN have announced that amid mounting opposition from the public and NGOs, the state electricity firm PLN has temporarily shelved plans to set up a nuclear power plant.
PLN director of planning and technology Bambang Praptomo said Monday that a nuclear-generated power plant was not included in his company's Electricity Procurement Business Plans (RUPTL) outlined for up to 2018.
Regular readers will expect me to be cheering, but it's not as if it's a permanent halt to their plans or those of the State Ministry of Research and Technology, whose renewable energy expert Martin Jamin said his ministry was ready to implement the nuclear power plan in the future.
"Before that, we should raise people's awareness about the plan because they are the most likely to be concerned."
But Martin insisted the densely populated island of Java was the most appropriate location to develop a nuclear power plant.
Of course. So why not site it in Jakarta? After all, this city has the most users of electricity and apparently by 2018 traffic jams will have eased. That's because PLN and PT Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) signed an MoU on Monday whereby PLN will supply power to the project to build the 14.5-kilometer route linking Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to Dukuh Atas in Central Jakarta.
There are 12 stations planned for construction along the route, comprising eight elevated stations on a 10.5-kilometer stretch of track and four underground stations along a 4-kilometer stretch.
The biggest problem I can see is that floods will still be a problem, especially underground.
Mark my words - sparks will fly. .............................................. Update June 19
It seems that once I think I've polished off a topic, new and relevant information comes by which I wish I'd included.
First up, and of interest to the residents of Bandar Lampung and elsewhere who are subject to power cuts, parliament is considering a bill that would allow regencies to set electricity tariffs, supposedly as a means of compensating the residents. Cynics might suggest that the proposed bill is intended to compensate regents.
Then, regarding PLN's shortfall of Rp.2.2 trillion in their connection budget, they have announced that they've managed to save Rp.2.5 trillion by cutting generation costs having switched from oil to gas-fired power plants.
Meanwhile, an adviser to the Energy and Mineral Resources Minister, has said that Indonesia has so far only tapped 4% of the "abundant" renewable energy resources, such as soar, hydro-electric and geothemal power, although it was expected to reach 15% by 2025.
By 2018, PLN plans to have increased its use of coal by c.300%.