Energy, especially electricity and gas, is vital in economic activity as well as in domestic affairs. Departing from this, the government launched a program to disseminate access to energy known as energy justice. As explained by Radhi (2019), energy justice is a program of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) which aims to enable the provision of energy at affordable prices for the people of Indonesia at large.[enf_note]Radhi, F. (Oktober 15, 2019). Capaian energi berkeadilan bagi rakyat Indonesia. Media Indonesia.,Indonesia%20secara%20berkeadilan%20dan%20merata[/efn_note] This discourse has actually been echoed since the era of the leadership of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources 2016-2019 , Ignasius Jonan, with the aim of providing energy access to people in remote areas who have difficulty getting fuel oil or gas. Energy justice is also a manifestation of Article 33 of the 1945 Constitution concerning the control of Indonesia’s natural resources by the state for the greatest prosperity of the people.1 The question is, is the energy infrastructure built by the government, as well as just energy itself, truly “fair” to society?

The Indonesian government in this case is launching a 100% electrification plan by 2020. However, the government ignores the sustainability of the program, assuming that simply providing electricity is enough. In fact, according to Sambodo, with the low level of education and purchasing power of the people, as well as the presence of geographical factors, namely the location of some remote areas of Indonesia, post-electrification issues will arise which are called dual energy poverty.2

The first problem lies in the lack of electricity provided by the state. For example, the Energy Saving Solar Light (LTSHE) program carried out by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in 2017 has not yet reached world standards. In fact, LTSHE can only be used for lighting because of the low electricity consumption of the user’s family, namely 389 kWh, far below the international standard of 1,250 kWh. Second, the unequal distribution of clean energy for cooking is due to infrastructure constraints. As a result, people tend to choose firewood for cooking because it is easy to obtain and cheap despite the smoke that pollutes the air and endangers breathing.

Thus, it can be said that the energy infrastructure that has been built by the government cannot yet be fully relied upon to create a more prosperous society.

METI (Indonesian Renewable Energy Society) expressed its concern, namely the increasing use of fossil energy and the end to the depletion of conventional energy sources. Furthermore, Indonesia is actually rich in renewable energy sources, but their utilization has not been maximized. Moreover, people’s access to energy sources is still lacking.3

In an article on the page The Conversation, one third or 30% of rural people in Indonesia still choose firewood for cooking fuel. This choice was made because of the high cost of clean energy sources for them and because firewood was common and cheap.

In addition, it is still difficult to expand LPG to villages because the state’s expenditure burden for gas subsidies reaches IDR 58 trillion. Ironically, these subsidies are consumed more by the well-to-do families.

So, as quoted from McCauley, Heffron, Holmes, and Pavlenko (2017) from the University of California in a journal on energy justice, the government must do the following two things in planning and implementing electrification.

1. Ensuring that electrification can continue to help society.

Awareness of the importance of equitable energy must reach community groups that are often overlooked. So often, justice is misunderstood or deliberately misunderstood so that people’s perceptions are distorted. Therefore, in understanding justice, awareness of social, cultural, ethnic and racial, and gender diversity is also needed.

2. Determine the right way to maintain the usefulness of the electrification program at the regional and national levels.

The realization of energy justice must be carried out neutrally and involve all stakeholders indiscriminately. All interested parties (Indonesian society) should be involved in decision-making, and their participation must be taken into account. In addition, government and industry contribution, fairness and transparency, and an appropriate and prudent approach are also required.4

In order to get out of dual-energy poverty, there needs to be cooperation between the village government, state-owned energy providers, and the private sector in providing sustainable energy benefits. For example, the village government can synergize with PLN as an electrical energy provider, Pertamina as a supplier of clean energy for cooking, and the private sector through corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

The Importance of Just Energy for All

In the seventh point of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on clean and affordable energy, it is stated that an inclusive economic development whose benefits can be felt continuously requires an affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy supply for all.5

In line with SDG-7, electrification with benefits that can continuously reach all Indonesians is crucial for realizing equality in economic standards, especially in the Industrial Revolution 4.0. With equitable access to electricity and gas, which is always beneficial, inclusive economic development is not an impossibility to help reduce poverty and improve welfare.


Energy justice has not materialized yet. First, although the success of electrification in Indonesia has reached 98.89%, people in rural areas have not felt the benefits. Second, even with the government’s assistance in the form of LTSHE, these tools have minimal benefits because electricity consumption is far below international standards.

Apart from electrification, LPG gas expansion is still not optimal. Pertamina’s limited budget, coupled with the wrongly targeted gas subsidies, means that the expansion of gas supply is still far from successful. However, these problems can be resolved with good coordination between the village government, PLN, Pertamina, and the private sector through its CSR program.

Author: Ersya Nailuvar

  1. Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral. (Maret 25, 2019). Terangkan makna energi berkeadilan, Jonan: Kemakmuran rakyat jadi kunci.
  2. Sambodo, M.T. (April 22, 2020). Riset: Masyarakat Indonesia masih kekurangan energi listrik dan energi bersih untuk memasak. The Conversation.
  3. METI : Perlu ada wakil menteri di ESDM. (Februari 25, 2020). Laporan Utama PortoNews.,dan%20pragmatis%20berkenaan%20dengan%20pemanfaatan
  4. McCauley, D., Heffron, R., Holmes, R., & Pavlenko, M. (2017). Energy justice: A new framework for examining Arcticness in the context of energy infrastructure development. In Kelman I. (Ed.), Arcticness: Power and Voice from the North (pp. 77-88). London: UCL Press. Retrieved April 14, 2021, from
  5. Kementerian PPN/Bappenas. (n.d.). 7. Energi bersih dan terjangkau. Tujuan Pembangunan Berkelanjutan.