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Jakarta Post

Government owes PLN $3b for two years of electricity subsidies

  • Norman Harsono
    Norman Harsono

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, April 23, 2020   /   11:46 am
Government owes PLN $3b for two years of electricity subsidies PLN president director Zulkifli Zaini talks during a teleconference with members of House of Representatives Comission VII, which oversees energy, on Wednesday. (JP/Screenshot)

The government has yet to disburse Rp 48 trillion (US$3.09 billion) to state-owned electricity company PLN for electricity subsidy costs incurred over the past two years.

PLN president director Zulkifli Zaini said on Wednesday that the electricity company’s receivables were Rp 23 trillion for subsidies in 2018 and Rp 15 trillion for 2019.

“The 2019 funds are still being assessed by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK),” he told House of Representative (DPR) members during a videoconference.

The electricity company, he continued, was preparing a reminder for the government, namely the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Ministry, Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Ministry and Finance Ministry, to disburse the compensation.

Read also: PLN projects lower electricity consumption over coronavirus

The slow disbursement of funds is putting further strain on PLN’s cash flow, which is already being squeezed by power infrastructure investment and electricity price ceilings.

To maintain its cash flow, PLN issued Rp 1.73 trillion in bonds on Monday. The company is also reviewing its infrastructure investments and talking to banks over reprofiling debt.

Lawmakers on Wednesday also asked Zulkifli about the ability of Indonesia’s sole power distributer to cover, among other things, a populist electricity relief plan for 31 million of Indonesia’s poorest households during the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan is to provide Rp 3.5 trillion worth of electricity subsidies for the households until June.

Zulkifli told lawmakers that his company had fully implemented the relief policy starting April 9.