Jakarta. The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and state utility company Perusahaan Listrik Negara are mulling a simplification of customer categories by merging some of the lower-voltage subscriptions, as part of efforts to boost electricity sales.
Customers subscribing to the 900 volt-ampere, 1,300 VA, 2,200 VA and 3,300 VA plans will receive a free upgrade to 4,400 VA. The categories refer to the maximum power a household can draw from the electricity grid at any given time.
Those currently subscribed to plans between 4,400 VA and 12,600 VA will be upgraded to 13,000 VA, while those currently subscribed to plans of 13,000 VA and above will receive unlimited electricity plans.
"The simplification will not apply to subsidized 450 VA and 900 VA customers," Andy Noorsaman, director general of electricity at the Energy Ministry, said on Monday (13/11), referring to categories involving about 27 million customers who still receive state subsidies.
He said the upgrade will be free of charge and therefore not burden customers. The price per kilowatt-hour will remain at Rp 1,467 (11 US cents).
Despite keeping the price unchanged, raising the limit per household will reshape their lifestyle and potentially increase productivity. People can start home businesses, use more appliances or gadgets and connect to the internet to market their products, Andy said.
Deputy Energy Minister Archandra Tahar said customers in the lower subscription groups are used to switching between appliances due to the power limit. For example, by first switching off the air-conditioner before ironing.
"Our intention is to make people get more power so they will not need to turn that off first," Archandra said.
However, PLN president director Sofyan Basir said the plan is still under discussion and the government and the state utility company have yet to determine an implementation date. "The faster the better," he said.