Perusahaan Listrik Negara

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Perusahaan Listrik Negara, also known as PT PLN or PT PLN (Persero), is the national electricity utility owned by the Indonesian government.


The history of electrical companies in Indonesia began at the end of 19th century when Dutch colonialists established the first electrical generator.[1] The electrical energy enterprise then expanded into the public company, NV.NIGM, formerly dealing in gas area only, which enlarged its business into the area of electrical energy. In World War II, the Japanese took control of the electrical companies. After Indonesian Independence day on August 17, 1945, Indonesian youth took control of the electrical companies in September 1945 and handed them over to the government of the Republic of Indonesia. The history of the electricity sector since then has been one of continuing institutional change.[2]

On 27 October 1945 President Sukarno established the Jawatan Listrik dan Gas (Bureau of Electricity And Gas) with a generation capacity of only 157.5 MW. On 1 January 1961, the bureau of Electricity and Gas was changed into BPU PLN (''Badan Pimpinan Umum Perusahaan Listrik Negara) which dealt in the areas of electricity, agas, and kokas (a type of fuel derived from the remains of coal). On 1 January 1965, BPU-PLN was closed and two governmental companies, were set up, Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) handling the electrical energy and Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN) handling gas. The capacity of the electrical-power generator of PLN, then, was 300 MW. There were further institutional changes during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

In September 2002 a new electricity law, Law No 20/2002, was introduced which foreshadowed major changes in the structure of the electricity supply industry. The new law required an end to PLN's monopoly on electricity distribution within five years after which time private companies (both foreign and domestic) were to be permitted to sell electricity directly to consumers. All companies were to use PLN's existing transmission network. However, the law was annulled in 2004 by the Constitutional Court of Indonesia. As a result, the electricity sector was in an uncertain legal situation for some years. A new electricity law, Law No 30/2009, was introduced to provide greater legal uncertainty although this law, too, was controversial because, as was the case with the earlier 2002 law, it legislated to end PLN's monopoly in the sector.[3]


In the first half of 2011, the PLN generated 88 terawatt-hours (TWh). The firm generated around 24% of its output using oil-based fuel with plans to reduce the share to 3% by 2013 and 1.7% by 2014.[4] The forecast for the full year (2011) is around 182 tWh (equivalent to around 760 kWh per capita).

Capacity and organisation

An the end of 2011, the PLN's total generating capacity (produced by a large number of different plants across Indonesia) was estimated at around 28,500 MW.[5] In 2012, a combined capacity of 3,351 megawatts will come online from 23 new power plants.[6]

PLN: Capacity and peak load, end-2011 (megawatts)
Maximum capacity Peak load
Java-Bali 21,257 16,150
Western Indonesia 4,602 4,299
Eastern Indonesia 2,603 2,484
Total 28,462 22,933

Main indicators have been increasing along with overall economic growth in Indonesia although the growth of revenue per unit sold (Rp/kWh) has been slow:

PLN: Key statistics 2005-2012
Employees Capacity (a) Production (b) Sold Output value Average revenue (c) Average revenue (d)
Units Number MW TWh TWh Rp trill Rp/kWh US cents/kWh
2005 43,762 22,515 124.5 105.9 64.0 604 6.2
2006 43,048 24,846 131.7 112.6 74.9 665 7.4
2007 42,537 25,224 139.7 121.2 77.4 639 6.8
2008 42,715 25,594 148.0 129.0 86.4 670 6.1
2009 42,096 25,637 156.8 134.6 90.9 676 7.2
2010 43,638 26,895 176.0 149.0 107.4 717 8.0
2011 44,343 29,268 192.5 160.7 114.2 711 7.8
2012 43,739 32,901

Source: Indonesian Statistics Bureau, Statistik Indonesia: Statistical Pocketbook of Indonesia (annual publication: various years), Jakarta.

(a) PLN only. Does not include generation capacity in the main independent power producers which had an approximate capacity of another 5,600 MW at the end of 2012.

(b) Includes wholesale electricity purchases by PLN from independent power producers (who had a total combined capacity of around 4,200 MW in 2011) and resold to consumers.

(c) Average revenue shown (which is a proxy for the average price of electricity) = Output value divided by sales.

(d) Estimate in US cents = Average Rp revenue adjusted by the end-year exchange rate.

PLN: Performance indicators 2005-2011
Growth (Production) Capacity utilization (a) Capacity utilization (a) Labor productivity Losses
Units % per year kWh/MW % GWh/employee %
2005 ... 4,660 53 2,847 15
2006 5.8 4,540 52 3,059 15
2007 6.1 4,750 54 3,284 13
2008 6.0 4,970 57 3,465 13
2009 5.9 5,110 58 3,551 11
2010 12.2 5,500 63 3,917 12
2011 9.4 5,500 63 4,401 12

Source: Calculated from previous table.
Growth = annual production growth. Capacity utilization = kWh generated per kW of generation capacity (theoretical maximum load at 100% capacity = 8,760); calculations assume that there is 4,200 MW of generating capacity in the independent power producers which sell electricity to the PLN. Labor productivity = Total GWh generated per employee in the PLN. Losses = sales as a % of production.

The Indonesian Government, and the senior management of the PLN, are officially committed to on-going reforms designed to improve the efficiency of operations of the electricity supply sector in Indonesia. Performance indicators show some significant improvements in certain key measures in recent years (see previous table on Performance indicators). However, the overall reform process is often slow, hampered by the fact that the environment within which the state-owned PLN operates is closely regulated and often politicised.[7]


The PLN is Indonesia's second-largest state company by assets[8] The top level management, headed by the president director, reports to a government-appointed board. The board and the PLN management in turn report to the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources. Recent president directors of PLN have been:

  • 2001-2008: Eddie Widiono Suwondho
  • 2008-2009: Fahmi Mochtar
  • 2009-2011: Dahlan Iskan
  • From 2011: Nur Pamudji

Difficulties came to light during early 2011 over arrangements during the management period of the long-serving (2001-2008) PLN president director Eddie Widiono Suwondho. Questions arose over certain procurement procedures which he supported. He was taken into questioning by Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission in March 2011.[9] In December 2011 he was convicted to five years imprisonment for charges that centered on the appointment of a company to handle the provision of outsourced services for the PLN.[10]


In late 2011, the new president director of the PLN, Nur Pamudji listed three milestones for PLN as targets for 2012:[11]

  • Use, for the first time, of liquefied national gas (LNG) as a fuel for some of PLN's generation plants
  • Near-finalisation of the first 10,000 MW fast-track generation program announced some years earlier
  • Registration of 5 million pre-paid customers into the PLN distribution system.


The reliability and quality of electricity supply has steadily improved in Indonesia in recent decades. Supply is more reliable in Java because the grid is relatively well-developed compared to the situation in the Outer Islands (such as Sumatra, Sulawesi and Kalimantan) where most areas are serviced by localised systems often powered by small diesel plants. However power outages are still common,[12] even in Java . There was, for example, a particularly severe power outage in 2005 which reportedly affected around 100 million people across Java and Bali for over five hours.


The PLN has—and has had, for many years—considerable trouble with internal revenue flows. For one thing, government-regulated tariffs are often too low to cover operational costs and have not been set at a level sufficient to make a reasonable contribution towards capital costs for many years. For another thing, there is widespread consumer resistance to payment of electricity bills. The cash flows of the company are often weighed down with overdue debts from consumers.

  • As just one example, in the Banyumas district (kabupaten) of Central Java in late 2011, it was reported that 60 percent (over 80,000) of the PLN's 140,000 customers in the area were overdue with payments for their electricity bills causing the company over $300,000 in losses each month. Of the customers in arrears, 13,000 were considered very bad customers and were targeted for disconnection. But the PLN's efforts to improve debt collection, both in Banyumas and in many other areas of Indonesia, often meet with considerable consumer resistance. In Banyumas, consumers complained that the PLN's efforts to improve debt collection were unfair and failed to reflect the social obligations expected of state-owned enterprises.[13]
  • Not long afterwards, the PLN was involved in an incident in the Central Java city of Surakarta where the municipality had overdue bills owing of close to $1 million (Rp 8.9 billion) to the PLN. Following PLN company policy to pursue a more aggressive approach to collect overdue bills, the PLN imposed a blackout on street lamps in Surakarta just before Christmas 2011. The city municipality quickly arranged payment but arranged the settlement along with a protest and suggested that the PLN should consider the interest of the public before taking this type of action. To reinforce the point, the mayor of Surakarta, Joko Widodo, made a highly-publicised personal visit to the local PLN office to deliver the Rp 8.9 billion in cash in the form of hundreds of bundles of notes and coin.[14]

Theft of electricity is common in many parts of Indonesia as well.[15] In recent years, the PLN has been moving to tighten up on problems of non-payment of bills as well as theft. Prepaid meters are now required for all new housing units.

Apart from internal revenue flows, the PLN relies on large government subsidies to support operations and, especially, capital expenditure. The average tariff for electricity at the end of 2011 was estimated to be around Rp 729 per kWh (around US 8.1 cents) while PLN's average cost of production was put at around Rp 1,100 (US 12.2 cents).[16] The electricity subsidy provided from the national budget in 2011 was initially budgeted at Rp 65.6 trillion (around $US 8 billion at the time) but the amount increased to Rp 91 trillion (around $US 10 billion) by the end of 2011.[17] In March 2012 the government proposed a reduction in the electricity subsides (which involved an increase in the price of electricity to consumers) to the national parliament but the proposal was rejected. As a result, the PLN came under pressure to try to find economies to reduce the ballooning level of subsidies.[18]

In recent years, as economic conditions in Indonesia have improved following the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, PLN has also been able to undertake significantly increased borrowings through bond issues. In November 2011, for example, PLN issued $1 billion of debt at reasonable market prices (10 years at 5.5% coupon value). Demand for the debt (estimated at $5.5 billion) significantly exceeded the supply of bonds on offer.[19] In October 2012 it was reported that the PLN planned to issue 30-year USD bonds which had been graded BB by Standard and Poor's rating agency.[20] Through the issuance of debt of this kind the PLN is both raising funds and participating in the development of the domestic debt market in Indonesia.

The PLN also accesses other government-supported sources of financing. In December 2011 the company received a Rp 7.5 trillion soft loan (around $US800 million at the prevailing exchange rate) from the Indonesian state investment agency PIP (Pusat Investasi Pemerintah or the government investment unit, known as the Indonesia Investment Agency). The soft loan was provided for a total period of 15 years with a 5-year grace period for capital payments at a relatively low interest rate of 5.25% per annum [21]

Investment programs

The overall investment program in the public electricity sector in Indonesia is largely dependent on two fast-track 10,000 MW investment programs initiated in recent years. The programs are behind schedule.

First 10,000 MW fast track program

The first 10,000 MW program commenced in 2006 and was originally scheduled to be completed by 2010. As of mid-2012, except for one plant (PLTU Labuan) all the power plants were behind schedule.[22]

  • Mid-2012: The government announced that as of mid-2012, slightly over 40% of the expected supply had been delivered. Problems causing delays included equipment availability, land-acquisition problems, and funding.[23]
  • End 2012: The PLN reported that around 48% (approximately 4,750MW) of the total planned capacity of 9,877 MW had been realised. The remaining capacity of 5,127 MW was expected to come on line before the end of 2014.

The program comprises 35 power plants, mostly coal-fired. Ten of the plants are in Java-Bali. The other 35 mainly-smaller plants are in the Outer Islands.

Main plants in the program include the following:[24]

Region Province Location Capacity (MW)
Bantan Teluk Naga 900
Banten Labuan
Banten Suralaya
West Java Indramayu
West Java Pelabuhan Ratu 1,050
Central Java Rembang
East Java Pacitan 660
East Java Paiton 660
Outer Islands
Lampung 200
North Sumatra 400
Aceh Nagan Raya 220

Second 10,000 MW fast track program

A second 10,000 MW program has also been announced but implementation is lagging following delays in the first fast track program. The initial deadline for the second track was end-2016.

  • End 2012: The PLN announced that around 4,650 MW (about 46%) of the planned second stage would be on stream by end-2016.

The ambitious original plan was that 49% of the second 10,000 MW fast track program would be made up of low-carbon geothermal plants. However as of end-2012, 36 of the planned 52 geothermal plants were facing delays because of difficulty in obtaining access to sites in conservation areas (6 plants) or because of technical difficulties (16 plants) while a further 14 plants had not yet been put to tender.[25]

PLN Investment financing

At the end of 2011 it was announced that expected expenditures for PLN during 2012 would be around Rp 260 trillion (around $29 billion) made up of Rp 191 trillion (around $21 billion) for operational costs and Rp 69 billion (around $7.6 billion) for capital expenditures. Financing flows for the capital expenditures were forecast as follows:[26]

PLN: Forecast capital expenditures, 2012
Source Cost (Rp trill) Cost (US$ bill) Share (%) Forecast use of funds
PLN internal budget 33.6 3.7 48 Construction of power plants; evaluation of 10,000 MW fast-track program; distribution
National budget 8.9 1.0 13 Distribution systems in rural areas; renewable energy
Subsidiary loans 9.8 1.1 14 National power grids
Bank loans 16.7 1.9 24 Other capital items
Total 69.0 7.6 100

PLN Investment projects and plans

The PLN has plans to build a significant number of coal mine-mouth power plants in Sumatra and Kalimantan. These include the following:[27]

  • Plans for power plants in Sumatra with a combined capacity of 7,300 MW by 2020. One of the aims of this program is the goal of optimising coal usage to, amongst other things, accelerate development in the producing regions of Indonesia. In early 2012 the PLN announced that contracts had been awarded for the construction of three coal-fied plants with a total combined capacity of 2,140 MW in Sumatra: South Sumatra 5 (300 MW); South Sumatra 6 (600 MW); and South Sumatra 8 (1,240 MW).[28] It is also expected that in June 2012, the PLN will begin the tender process for three mine-mouth plants in Sumatra: South Sumatra 9 (1,200 MW); South Sumatra 10 (600 MW); Jambi (800 MW). The three plants are expected to come on stream in 2016.
  • A mine-mouth coal-fired plant in Asam Asam, South Kalimantan, with a capacity of 530 MW is expected to come on-line by the end of 2012. This is the Indonesia's third existing mine-mouth coal-fired plants; other plants are the Ombilin plant (200 MW) and Bukit Asam plant (200 MW), both in West Sumatra.

Sumatra-Java Grid

In order to provide power from plants in Sumatra to the main Indonesian electricity market in Java, in April 2012 PLN began the tender process for a Rp 20 trillion (approx $US 2.18 billion) project expected to be completed in 2017 which would provide 3,000 MW of power. The plan is for AC current to be converted to DC current in the Muara Enim Converter Station, South Sumatra and be converted back into AC current in the Bogor Converter Station, West Java. Between these sites, a 40 km 500 kv submarines cable would connect Ketapang in Lampung and Salira in Banten.[29]

Sources of power

In Java coal is the main source of fuel for power plants while in the Outer Islands oil is the chief source for a large number of small diesel plants. Plans to diversify energy sources for the electricity sector have been announced but progress has been slow.

Geothermal power

Although in principle Indonesia is well-supplied with sources of geothermal energy, exploiting geothermal energy in Indonesia has proceeded slowly in recent years. In mid-2012, PLN officials noted that 13 geothermal plants across Indonesia were 'stuck in exploration stages' and likely to miss development deadlines. A range of practical problems often caused problems—in some cases, initial drilling had failed to find wells with satisfactory yields of energy; in other cases, problems with local infrastructure (such as poor roads) and obtaining permits from local officials and forestry agencies had caused delays.[30]

Hydro power

There is considerable hydro power potential in Indonesia. However, most potential capacity is at sites which are hard to access and quite distant from any sizable markets. There is believed to be hydro power potential of over 22,000 MW in Papua and perhaps another 16,000 MW in South Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan. Total Indonesian hydro power potential has been put at over 75,000 MW,[31] with only 5,705 MW being utilized. 96 locations across the country with a total capacity of 12,800 MW would be developed 60 percent by PLN, while the rest would be offered to independent power producers.[32]

One problem, especially in the Outer Islands off Java, is that relatively small hydro plants often experience operational problems such as shortages of water flow. In Lampung in September 2012 for example, towards the end of the dry season, two small hydropower stations operated by PLN (total capacity around 120 MS) ceased operation, causing blackouts in the region.[33] Localised problems of this sort are common across much of the Outer Islands.


  1. A study of the history and economics of the electricity supply industry in Indonesia up until 1970 is available at McCawley, op. cit. (see reference below).
  2. For historical details, see McCawley, ibid.
  3. Alfian, 'PLN labor union to challenge new law on electricity', The Jakarta Post, 20 January 2010.
  4. 'PLN produces 88.2 TWh of electricity in first half, up 6.3%', The Jakarta Post, 25 July 2011.
  5. Rangga D. Fadillah, 'Power use to decline 15% in New Year', The Jakarta Post, 31 December 2011.
  6. "23 power plants to come online this year". February 9, 2012.
  7. Bruce Gale, 'Reforming the power dynamic', The Jakarta Globe, 9 December 2011.
  8. The largest state-owned company in Indonesia by assets is the government-owned bank Bank Mandiri.
  9. 'KPK detains former PLN president', The Jakarta Post, 24 March 2011.
  10. 'More SOE bosses in jail raises concerns', The Jakarta Post, 22 December 2011.
  11. Nur Pamudji was installed in late 2011 following the appointment of the previous president director, Dahlan Iskan, as Minister for State-owned enterprises.
  12. Hrvoje Hranjski, 'Electricity: Power failure hits S. Kalimantan, residents told to be patient', The Jakarta Post, 16 October 2012.
  13. Argus Maryono, 'Electricity No power for bad payers: PLN', The Jakarta Post, 26 November 2011.
  14. Kusumasari Ayuningtyas, 'Residents of Surakarta accompany mayor to pay PLN', The Jakarta Post, 4 January 2012.
  15. Apriadi Gunawan, 'Energy: Electricity theft is rampant in N. Sumatra', The Jakarta Post, 14 February 2012. See also 'Electricity theft high in Jambi', The Jakarta Post, 26 June 2009.
  16. Rangga D. Fadillah, 'Electricity: Most SMEs insulated from power tariff increase: Govt', The Jakarta Post, 28 January 2012.
  17. Esther Samboh, 'Govt agrees to spend extra Rp 63.7t on energy subsidy', The Jakarta Post, 14 December 2011.
  18. Hans David Tampubolon, 'Augus pressures PLN to quell soaring subsidies', The Jakarta Post, 7 April 2012.
  19. 'PLN issues US$1 billion bonds.', The Jakarta Post, 17 November 2011.
  20. Mariel Grazella, 'PLN's global bonds get positive ratings from major agencies', The Jakarta Post, 17 October 2012.
  21. 'PLN secures Rp 7.5 trillion loan from PIP', The Jakarta Post, 14 December 2011.
  22. Rabby Pramudatama, 'Power plant contractors face fines due to delays', The Jakarta Post 25 July 2012.
  23. 'PLN has problems with Chinese machinery', The Jakarta Post, 11 April 2012.
  24. Ika Krismantari, 'Govt to tender out financing of five coal-fired power plants', The Jakarta Post, 16 March 2008.
  25. Amahl S. Azwar, 'Fast-tracked power plant building program way behind schedule', The Jakarta Post, 13 February 2013.
  26. 'PLN allocates $7.6 billion for 2012 capital expenditures', The Jakarta Post, 28 December 2011.
  27. Ranggda D. Fadillah, 'PLN to operate mine-mouth plant in S. Kalimantan', The Jakarta Post, 21 February 2012.
  28. Rangga D. Fadillah, 'Contracts for 3 mine-mouth power plants', The Jakarta Post, 25 February 2012.
  29. "PLN to launch tender on Sumatra-Java grid". April 10, 2012.
  30. Rabby Pramudatama, 'PLN's geothermal plants likely to miss deadline', The Jakarta Post, 26 July 2112.
  31. PLN: 2,358 MW PLTAs enter construction phase, Waspada Online, 24 May 2011
  32. "PLN identifies 96 potential locations for hydro-power plants". January 25, 2012.
  33. Oyos Saroso H.N. and Apriadi Gunawan, 'Gloomy outlook for power supplies as water shortage forces blackouts', The Jakarta Post, 11 September 2012.

External links

Contact Details

PT. PLN (Persero) - Kantor Pusat
Jl. Trunojoyo Blok M I/135
Jakarta 12160. Indonesia
Tel: +62 21 7251234
Fax: +62 21 7204929
Email: pengelolaweb AT
Website: (English)

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Wikipedia also has an article on Perusahaan Listrik Negara. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.