Monday, August 30, 2004

Customers kept in dark about water disruptions

Source: The Jakarta Post

Urip Hudiono, The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

Water consumers in the city have long been complaining about a perceived lack of effort on the part of the city water utilities in preventing water supply disruptions, or at least in giving prior warning of such disruptions.

"It would be very helpful if the water utilities would directly send notices to customers, instead of just publishing notices in the newspapers as many of us do not read the newspapers," said Ketut Sumiarsa, a resident of Tanjung Duren, West Jakarta, on Saturday.

She called on the water firms to also affix notices containing information on planned repair work and supply disruptions in local post offices, where most residents pay their water bills.

The notices should be delivered to the places affected at least three days before the water was cut off, she said, so that residents could prepare emergency supplies.

"They turned off the water once when I had visiting relatives staying at my house. I had to buy water from vendors as there was no water for days, and our complaints fell on deaf ears," Ketut recalled.

Another Tanjung Duren resident, Ratnasari, expressed the hope that the water utilities could come up with a way of ensuring continuous water supplies to customers.

"Even a small trickle of water is actually enough for us," she said. "Just don't turn of the water for days on end."

Ratnasari said she often found herself without water when a stoppage in supply occurred, even though she normally tried to maintain a reserve water supply in her home.

"What happens when the water goes off? We can't bathe, wash nor cook," she said, adding that she was then forced to spend money on buying water from vendors.

Suhardi, a resident of Kebon Jeruk, also in West Jakarta, said that the water companies had to realize that they were supplying a public necessity.

"They should make customer satisfaction their top priority. At least, they should ensure that the customers get the water they need every day," he said.

Suhardi said he was tired of complaining to his water utility, and that the water supply to his home was still of poor quality and frequently subject to disruptions.

PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja), one of city tap water operator PD PAM Jaya's foreign partners, besides PT Thames PAM Jaya (TPJ), had announced that water supplies would be disrupted in several areas, including Tanjung Duren and Kebon Jeruk, over the weekend. The disruption was due to maintenance work at the Cawang pumping station in East Jakarta.

Palyja and TPJ supply water to customers in the west and east of Jakarta respectively.