JAKARTA - Indonesia's president called on government departments to cut down on air conditioning and take other energy-saving measures in the face of nationwide fuel shortages.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made the plea at meeting with ministers and governors from across Indonesia on Sunday. The request was made in the form of a "presidential instruction" -- a type of decree but one that contains no legal sanctions for those who ignore it. It is unclear how effective it will be in reducing consumption.
The instruction called on civil servants and workers at state owned companies to reduce use of office cars, lighting and air conditioning units. Presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng said the measures would not affect economic activity and "would only impinge somewhat on our comfort at the office."
With global oil prices at record highs, Indonesia's state-owned oil company has been unable to meet a soaring demand for fuel sparked by a strong economic recovery. Shortages have been reported at gas stations around the country in recent years. Although Indonesia is the sole Southeast Asian member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, reduced investment in oil exploration and extraction in the country has reduced output in recent years and made the country a net crude importer for several months in 2004.