Saturday, September 04, 2004

Water consumers urged to complain - Jakarta

Source: The Jakarta Post

Urip Hudiono, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The customer is king, so the saying goes, and Jakartans should not hesitate to file complaints to tap water companies if there are problems with the service, the firms say.

However, customers should not expect operators to supply them with clean water during repair work to pipes, they said.

"(Mobile) water trucks are only prioritized for hospitals, orphanages and state facilities," PT Thames PAM Jaya (TPJ) operations center head Margie Tumbelaka told The Jakarta Post on Friday. "We can only serve individual customers during major repair work."

PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja) public relations manager Maria Sidabutar said operators could only provide water trucks upon collective requests from customers during disruptions to supply.

In an effort to improve services to their customers, both firms encouraged customers to lodge complaints on their telephone hotlines.

And customers have been complaining. Data from the Indonesian Drinking Water Society (MAMI) shows more than 9,000 complaints have been lodged each month since early this year, with most complaints concerning water cuts and leaking pipes.

Both companies have promised they would immediately respond to any customer complaints.

"Besides calling our hotline, customers can also contact our nearest district office during working hours to report any leakages or file other complaints," Margie said.

All complaints would then be listed according to their location and severity. TPJ would then send a team "the next day" to check pipes in houses and repair any damage, she said.

"Simple problems like faulty water meters or a localized pipe bursting can usually be fixed within a few hours. But if the problem happens to be a leak in one of the main pipes, it could take longer," Margie said. TPJ had skilled personnel and sufficient equipment to exactly pinpoint what a problem was, she said.

While, customers would have to fill in a repair work form, they be exempt from any repair fees, Margie said. This was unless the problem was determined to have been caused by the customer, such as a water meter that had been tampered with.

Following the privatization of the city's tap water sector in 1998, tap water in Jakarta is managed by TPJ, serving customers on the east of the Ciliwung River, and Palyja, serving customers on the west.

The two operators are joint ventures between city tap water operator PD PAM Jaya and British Thames Water International and French Lyonnaise des Eaux, respectively.

Consumers can contact TPJ's hot line at (021) 5772010 and Palyja's at (021) 57986555. The service is available 24 hours.