President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has started implementing the energy-saving policies he introduced in a speech on Tuesday night, he said on Wednesday, revealing that he had ordered a reduction in the use of lights at the State Palace.
“I’d like to announce that it’s different now from the day before, in that a lot of the lights have been turned off,” he said during an event to receive the results of the central government’s annual audit.
He said he was trying to learn from the Japanese government, which faced severe energy shortages after World War II and in the wake of last year’s tsunami.
“Tokyo was reportedly pitch black at night [after World War II], and the only two buildings that had their lights on were the offices of the prime minister and his top officials,” Yudhoyono said.
He added that when he visited Japan in June last year, three months after the natural disaster that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the country was experiencing a severe power shortage.
Conserving energy at government buildings was one of five policies that Yudhoyono unveiled on Tuesday to cut energy spending while still retaining a fuel subsidy.
Another was to ban officials and employees of state enterprises from using subsidized fuel for state-owned vehicles.
Pertamina Hulu Energi, a subsidiary of state oil and gas firm Pertamina, said on Wednesday that it would respond by setting up a carpool system for its employees.
“We’ve also seen how Jakarta’s overcrowded traffic troubles us, and that’s why we want to initiate carpooling for trips to and from office,” Salis Aprilian, PHE’s chief executive, said in Jakarta.
He said he hoped at least a third of the company’s employees would take part in the program, under which they would be divided into groups based on where they lived.
One of the policies outlined on Tuesday was to promote the use of gas-based fuel, known locally as BBG, over petrol or diesel.
Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said on Wednesday that his office would work with the Industry Ministry on this point by fast-tracking regulations on environmentally friendly and hybrid vehicles.
The ministries would also work together on a program to build a locally-developed “low cost green car,” he said.
“We’re not just discussing the production of LCGC and hybrid cars, but also the development of cars that don’t run on oil-based fuels,” he said.
“So we’re looking at developing four or five different types of cars.”
Agus added that producers willing to invest in the technology would get incentives from the government to support their work.
Antara & JG