07/11/2005, 00.00
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Presidential order to deal with energy crisis

by Mathias Hariyadi
The order was signed yesterday in Jakarta and is designed to reduce energy use in the country. Air conditioning and elevators in public buildings as well as official service cars are to be used more sparingly. Energy-saving ordinances will soon be issued for each province and district.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesia is enacting guidelines to cope with the country's worst energy crisis. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed a Special Presidential Order to reduce energy consumption across the board, especially kerosene, gasoline and electrical power.

The Order was signed at a cabinet meeting attended by the country' 33 governors and representatives of state-owned oil company Pertamina.

For the past two weeks, the country has been in the grip of an energy crunch since growing local demand and high priced oil imports have reduced the government's capacity to pay fuel subsidies.

Presidential spokesperson Andy Mallarangeng said the Order should be regarded as a short-term shortcut.

He also said that it will be followed by special ordinances in every province and districts to meet local needs.

Mallarengeng added that the Order called for reducing the use of air conditioning, elevators and electricity in public buildings as well as the use of official service vehicles.

Local authorities are being asked to promote energy savings in both public and private sectors.

"Energy saving is not intended to reduce economic activities but only limit some office comfort," the spokesperson said.

The campaign to save energy is also affecting radio and TV, which will reduce their air-time—mostly after midnight to dawn

Communication Minister Sofyan Djalil said that the energy crisis is acute and that "fuel shortages bite everyone"

President Susilo has had to postpone a visit to China, Thailand and Brunei, which were schedule for July 12-20, to deal with the energy crisis.

According to Energy Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, "if the various branches of the government can work together, we might save anywhere between 5 and 10 per cent, or at least stay within the targets set for this year".

This year, domestic consumption was set at 59.69 million kilolitres with subsidies expected to top 76.5 trillion rupiahs (US$ 7.88 billion).

Demand however rose 10 per cent in the first half of the year and with oil prices reaching US$ 61 per barrel. This meant that additional subsidies could leave the Treasury dry.

Pertamina reported the country has oil reserves for 19 days—the security level is 22. It said never the less that supply should reach normal levels by mid-month.

In seven cities located in remote areas, oil supplies can last only three days.

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