Letters: Consequences of the power cuts

The government and senior officials of state-owned oil and gas company PLN don’t appear to appreciate the actual tragic consequences of the numerous power cuts that happen here in North Sumatra and many parts of Indonesia. I’m sure most people consider the frequent unexpected power cuts are just an inconvenience. However, the power cuts can cause far more serious events, which I mention below.

People have died or have been severely injured as a result of power cuts — yes, people have died! It doesn’t take much to realize how this can happen and there are many possible causes. During power cuts, traffic lights do not work so, of course, there will have been more road accidents.

During nighttime power cuts, there is no street lighting, so again more road accidents, involving all types of vehicles and pedestrians, especially so when it is raining.

People tend to be more tired as a result of power cuts, whether daytime or at night, due to
the disturbance of their routine, so they are less able to concentrate and this can lead to more accidents. Hospitals are unable to run normally; when there are unexpected cuts, it can cause disruption in operating rooms and severely injured patients may have to wait longer for emergency treatment. How many people have died or been badly burned as a result of fires caused by candles, oil lamps or small generators, which have had to been used during power cuts?

There’s the problem of extra pollution caused by the many small generators being used by businesses and households. It’s not only the engine exhaust fumes, but there’s also the problem of noise pollution, especially at night when neighbors are disturbed by the sound of nearby generators.

However, there is one group of people who have certainly benefited from the many power cuts – burglars and thieves! For them, the frequent night blackouts have made it much easier for them to enter homes or to rob individuals on the streets. Therefore, the crime rate will have risen, and so too the number of deaths and injuries caused by such criminal activities.

Solving the power issue in Indonesia is a major problem as it is generally accepted that most public sector organizations in this country are rife with corruption and are often managed by unprofessional and self-interested individuals. It is also accepted that in public sector organizations, jobs at all levels are “bought” by the highest bidder and so the best-qualified applicants are often not even considered. Consequently, such organizations are mismanaged by unqualified individuals whose main aim in life is to profit from their “investment”, as it certainly won’t come from their salaries, which are often quite low.

If the power situation was taken as a serious matter by the government and truly solved, I’m sure that there would be more foreign investment in Indonesia.