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Jakarta Post

COVID-19 hits already struggling power firm

  • Norman Harsono

    Jakarta

Jakarta   /   Tue, September 29 2020   /  01:00 am
Fickle numbers: Employees of state electricity firm PLN replace electricity meters at the Taman Palem Lestari housing complex in Cengkareng, West Jakarta, on Wednesday. PLN replaced the meters following customers’ complaints over increasing electricity bills.(JP/Donny Fernando)

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit state-owned electricity giant PLN like a brick, adding to its problems over the past five years that have eroded the company’s finances and thus its ability to develop green energy. Analysts say PLN's financial circumstances put at immediate risk Indonesia’s clean energy goals as the company is bogged down by the government’s 35GW program, 60 percent of which is coal plants, while other virus-stricken economies shift away from the fossil fuel. “PLN’s quiet crisis reflects dysfunctional planning and governance that have put the company into strategic paralysis,” said analyst Elrika Hamdi of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) in a recent report. PLN saw key debts and expenses swell between 2015 and 2019 due to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s massive 35 gigawatts ...