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State Electricity Company (PLN) is optimistic that electricity consumption growth can be achieved this year even though a number of customer sectors are still experiencing contraction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Director of Commerce and Management of PLN, Bob Saril, revealed that in general the policy of implementing the Community Activity Restriction (PPKM) still has an impact on the level of electricity consumption in the business sector. PLN recorded that the total realization of electricity consumption until August reached 166.17 Terra Watt hour (TWh) or grew 4.5% year on year (yoy).

"We expect it to grow 4.5% to 4.75% by December," said Bob.

In detail, the increase was supported by consumption growth in the industrial sector which reached 10.51%. While the business sector growth is still at the level of 1.32%. Bob explained, even in July the business sector contracted around -2.55%. Growth started to improve in August although it was still below 1% which is around 0.16%.

The improvement in the level of electricity consumption can also be seen from the public sector and government buildings which contracted -5.05% in July, starting to improve with a contraction rate of -1.24% last August. The growth of this industrial sector is also considered to be a positive signal for the overall level of electricity consumption.

Bob added that the target setting at the end of the year with the industrial sector as the support was based on the growth of the export market, especially the steel, chemical and food processing industries. "(Also) there is import substitution for some goods that have been produced domestically and our economic growth is getting better," explained Bob.

Bob added that downstreaming in a number of mining sectors also supported the increase in electricity consumption.

If detailed, there are three main industries that supported the increase in electricity consumption until August with growth reaching double digits. The textile industry recorded growth of 23.4%, followed by the iron and steel industry with a growth of 21.7% and the automotive industry which grew by 20.7%.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) Fabby Tumiwa assessed that the electricity consumption target of up to 4.75% by PLN this year could be achieved considering the trend of electricity consumption until the first semester of 2021. In the first semester of 2021 electricity growth reached 4, 89%.

"So it is very possible that in the second semester it can reach 4.5 percent so that the annual growth will reach 4.6 percent to 4.7 percent," said Fabby.

Fabby added that the industrial and business sectors slowly began to recover last August. According to him, the growth that occurred was rebound after it was cut at the end of last year. Production (industrial) activity, which begins to fill up in line with normal economic and trade activities, is considered to be the driving factor for the increase in electricity consumption until the end of the year.

To increase electricity sales, PLN will focus on strategies to drive demand through intensification and extensification efforts. The intensification strategy is carried out through bundling and promos to increase customer convenience.

One example is the promo to increase the power of Super Merdeka Electric. namely the provision of a special price of Rp. 202,100 for the Connection Fee (BP) on Power Added Services for low-voltage 1 phase consumers of 450 VA and 900 VA in all tariff categories with final power options ranging from 900 VA to 900 VA. 5500 VA power.

In addition, the intensification strategy is also carried out through the application of a lifestyle using electricity-based equipment in daily life or an electrifying lifestyle. This is done, for example, by encouraging the ecosystem and the use of one million induction cookers and battery-based electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, the extensification strategy was pursued by looking at potential market niches such as electrifying agriculture and electrifying marine for the agriculture, plantation, and fishery sectors.