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Yogyakarta residents turn to coal briquettes for fuel YOGYAKARTA - Today's high fuel prices are no longer a source of stress for Agus Sumarwoto as two months ago the catering entrepreneur turned to coal briquettes. He chose coal briquettes as an alternative fuel as they are cost efficient. Before using the coal briquettes, Agus had to use 15 tanks of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) a week, with each tank of 15 kilograms of LPG costing him Rp 51,000. The catering company had to use firewood and kerosene to cook certain kinds of foods, causing the company to spend Rp 250,000 a day on fuel.

A coal briquette trader shows how to place coal briquettes into a rudimentary stove. Briquettes are in high demand in Yogyakarta after the government raised fuel prices on Oct. 1.
A coal briquette trader shows how to place coal briquettes into a rudimentary stove. Briquettes are in high demand in Yogyakarta after the government raised fuel prices on Oct. 1
"We were aware of the government's plan to raise fuel prices, so we started using the briquettes prior to the government's announcement of the price increases," said Agus. Now he spends Rp 160,000 a day on fuel. Agus is among many people nationwide who turned to coal briquettes after the fuel price increases on Oct. 1. Ignatius, a chicken farmer with 10,000 chickens, for example, vowed he would switch to coal briquettes next week. He is currently using kerosene and LPG to run a machine that keeps his chicken coops warm.

Since the government raised fuel prices the demand for coal briquettes has risen from two tons a day to 15 tons a day. "We cannot meet the rising demand as the supply from coal producer PT Bukit Asam is limited. We are supplied twice a month, with each supply amounting to 15 tons," said Jimin, the owner of a local coal briquette supplier. As demand is on the rise, the price of coal briquettes has increased from Rp 800 per kilogram to Rp 2,000 per kilogram.

Most people who use coal briquettes are restaurant and catering company owners, although they are also bought for household use or by farmers, said Jimin. While some experts have said the use of coal briquettes can cause lung problems, Marno Datun of Gadjah Mada University believes they are safe to use. He said that, as coal briquette makers in the country had reduced the sulfuric content of the briquettes, using them was no longer a health hazard.



Posted in General @ 22 October 2005 18:00 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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