PAM’s glass half empty: Regulators

Jakarta tap water providers’ glaringly slow progress in improving services may drive away valuable customers, experts say.

“Some companies have begun to plan ways to recycle their water using reverse osmosis technology,” said Riant Nugroho, a member of the city’s water regulatory body, during a discussion on Tuesday.

PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol, which owns Ancol Dreamland Park, and PT Pelindo II, one of Indonesia’s seaport operators, had both begun researching this option, Riant said.

The companies’ move toward recycling water is in line with the city’s environmental campaigns, but it will also cause PAM Jaya to lose income that would otherwise cover its losses from customers in the lower-income bracket, he said.

PAM Jaya provides tap water to residents through two private water contractors, PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja) and PT Aetra Air Jakarta.

Under their contracts, PAM Jaya pays Palyja and Aetra water charges for the water they provide to customers. The latest water charge PAM Jaya paid the contractors, however, was above the average water rate customers paid PAM Jaya, which was Rp 7,000 (around 70 US cents) per cubic meter.

Based on their income brackets Jakartans pay different water rates to PAM Jaya, with the lowest rates just over Rp 1,000 per cubic meter and the highest at around Rp 14,000.

This arrangement has continually caused PAM Jaya losses because most of its customers pay less than the standard water rate.

“75 percent [of customers] pay less than the standard rates,” Riant said.

Last year, PAM Jaya director Haryadi Priyohutomo said the company’s debts amounted to Rp 300 billion. (dis)