Ministry issues regulation to expedite rural electrification

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry (ESDM) has issued a ministerial regulation (Permen) to expedite the process of providing electricity to 2,500 villages in the country.

"This is a government breakthrough in providing a legal umbrella for increasing the countrys electrification ratio, which is now still at 96.95 percent of the 82,190 villages," ESDM Deputy Minister Arcandra Tahar stated in Jakarta on Monday.

Tahar noted that the new Permen is aimed at supporting the implementation of the governments third Nawacita (development priority) program.

The program focuses on ensuring development in Indonesia, starting from the border areas, including the development of electricity in rural areas.

The deputy minister made the statement during the announcement of the ministerial decree at the office of the Directorate General of Electricity in Jakarta.

He said the new regulation is Permen No. 38 of 2016 on Acceleration of Electrification in Underdeveloped, Isolated, Border Villages and Inhabited Outlaying Islands Through Implementation of the Small-Scale Electrification Scheme. It is mainly aimed at providing electricity to villages that do not have the facility.

Through the ministers new regulation, the government is offering companies, belonging to the local governments, private firms, and cooperatives, the task of managing regions that have not yet been handled by other parties.

Based on data at the office of the Directorate General of Electricity, the national electrification ratio until the end of 2016 had reached 91.16 percent.

The ratio exceeds the working plan target of the ESDM for the 2015-2019 period at 90 percent.

In the meantime, 2,510 villages still do not have access to electricity. The villages are located in the seven provinces of Papua, West Papua, Aceh, North Sumatra, Jambi, Southeast Sulawesi, and West Kalimantan.

In Papua, a total of 2,111 villages do not have electricity access, but 429 of them had been included in the state-owned electricity company PLNs village electrification program 2017-2019.

The government has set a target of increasing the national electrification ratio to 92.72 percent, but PLN, through its plan, is only able to offer electricity to 504 villages.

In 2015, the government had implemented a rural electrification program, with funds worth Rp3.1 trillion being allocated from ESDMs state budget.

The ESDM annually sets aside funds for the development of new and renewable forms of energy, which is mostly designed for small-scale power plants in the regions. The budget allocation for 2017 is set at Rp1 trillion.(*)