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Jakarta Post

PLN to dispatch meter inspectors during PSBB to prevent bill fiasco

  • Norman Harsono
    Norman Harsono

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, September 15, 2020   /   03:34 pm
PLN to dispatch meter inspectors during PSBB to prevent bill fiasco A resident reads the electricity meter for his apartment at a low-cost apartment building in Bendungan Hilir, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

State-owned electricity firm PLN will continue sending meter inspectors to Jakarta homes during the second reinstatement of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to prevent household power bills from skyrocketing.

The company had stopped sending inspectors in April, when Jakarta first entered lockdown, which caused household electricity bills to jump over the following months, triggering public outcry and a government investigation.

“This is done to ensure that customers’ electricity bills match with their electricity consumption,”  PLN spokesman Agung Murdifi said of the new decision on Monday evening.

However, PLN will not send inspectors to closed-off neighborhoods and locked homes, he added. These homes will need to report their power consumption – expressed as a kilowatt hour (kWh) on each electricity meter – via instant messaging service WhatsApp between the 24th and 27th of each month.

Read also: Charged exchange: PLN electricity billing confusion enters third month

PLN warned that it would use a new bill calculation method — the direct cause of the bill spikes — for such inaccessible homes that do not report in time.

The company previously conceded that 1.93 million homes received unfairly high power bills in June due to the new calculation method. PLN had resumed fully dispatching inspectors by that month, including for Jakarta, which had entered a looser, transitional PSBB period.

Jakarta reentered a two-week PSBB period starting on Monday to contain the spread of COVID-19, which has killed 1,418 residents, the second-highest provincial death toll behind East Java.