Monday, December 25, 2017


   Jakarta, Dec 25, 2017 (Antara) - President Joko Widodo recently delivered a special Christmas gift by inaugurating an electricity distribution network for the inhabitants of 74 villages in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, whose majority population are Christians.
          In celebrating Christmas this year, for the first time, the residents of Papua and West Papua were able to adorn their Christmas trees with colorful lamps, as state electricity company (PLN) has supplied electricity to 74 additional villages in the two provinces.  
     The 74 villages are part of the 191 villages in Papua and West Papua to which PLN will supply electricity.
          "This is a special gift for the people in remote villages in Papua and West Papua from PLN," Ahmad Rofik, the business director for Maluku and Papua regions, noted in a press release on December 19, 2017.
          During the inauguration of the Nabire Power Plant in Papua Province on Dec 20, President Widodo stated that three thousand villages in Indonesia are yet to have access to power networks, and two thousands of them are in Papua.
          "I have ordered the ministry and PLN, so next year, all of them would have received power," the president remarked.
           Despite the high cost of construction in Papua, the government is committed to building infrastructure in Papua, including the power lines, to realize social welfare, Widodo remarked.  
    The government will fulfill the electricity needs of Papua's residents by utilizing solar cells and PLN's power lines.

         Apart from power lines, the president revealed that the government will also undertake several efforts to boost economic development in Papua, including by implementing the single-fuel price policy, reducing the price of cement, constructing the Trans-Papua access road, and improving health and educational services.
         In line with the president's instructions, Indonesian power company PLN's General Director Sofyan Basir confirmed that his side had planned to built several power plants in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, with an additional production capacity of 200 megawatts.
            "We want to expand and repair the existing networks as well as build a main plant. The power production capacity could be increased by 100 percent, or 200 megawatts, by the end of 2019," Basir had noted in Nabire on December 21, 2017.
         Basir remarked that the power sector was among the crucial factors to support development in Papua, as the region's power network is less developed as compared to other areas in Indonesia.
         "Hence, by the end of 2019, the power surplus will be above 30 percent, so there will be no power outages," he pointed out.
         Basir made assurance that the challenge thrown by President Widodo to supply electricity to some two thousand villages in Papua will be met by 2018.
         The agenda can be fulfilled through joint cooperation between PLN and the Ministry of Energy and Human Resources through the implementation of the "Bright Papua" program.
         "Before the power network is installed in villages, they are using solar panels first through the Ministry of Energy and Human Resource's program," he said.
         Meanwhile, PLN has spent Rp150 billion to supply electricity to the 74 villages having 1,040 families, with a total of 2,700 families yet to have access to electricity.
         PLN needs Rp150 million to offer access to electricity to one family due to geographical challenges of the villages there.
         Rofik said difficult access, extreme weather, and social problems have failed to discourage PLN to provide electricity to isolated villages in Papua and West Papua.
         "There are several challenges we face, including the on-field condition, which makes the mobilization of equipment difficult as well as poses social problems but seeing the villagers satisfied gives us happiness and encouragement," he noted.
         I Made Suprateka, head of the corporate communication unit of PLN, remarked that the development of infrastructure to supply electricity to rural areas is one of the government's strategic programs to increase the ratio of electrification, especially in rural areas.
         In the past two years, PLN has increased its electrification ratio in the eastern Papua province, from 45.93 percent to 50.11 percent and the ratio of rural electricity, from 22.02 percent in 2015, to 29.53 percent in 2017.
         In West Papua, the electrification ratio has risen from 82.7 percent to 91.76 percent, while the ratio of rural electricity has increased from 33.23 percent in 2015 to 54.47 percent in 2017.
         Electricity will be supplied to some 1,941 of the total villages through the solar energy saving lights program implemented by the Ministry of Energy, while a total of 435 villages will be supplied electricity by PLN until 2018.

(T.F001/A/BESSR/F. Assegaf) 25-12-2017

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