Residents of Sentul City have once again become customers of Perumdam Tirta Kahuripan Kabupaten Bogor (Perumdam) after the Bandung State Administrative Court (PTUN Bandung) decided that Perumdam had violated the law. As new customers, the residents of Sentul City are estimated to increase the state’s annual income by more than 15 billion rupiahs.
The distribution of water in the Sentul City area was originally managed privately by PT Sentul City. At the time, residents complained that the price of water was higher than what was set by the local government of the Bogor Regency. Additionally, the company repeatedly cut off residents’ water supply and coerced them into paying Maintenance and Repair Fees (BPPL). This was done despite PT Sentul City being declared to not have the right to collect BPPL from residents of the Sentul City area with Supreme Court Decision No. 3415 K/Pdt/2018 which is supported by Judicial Review Decision No. 727 PK/PDT/2020.
After the issuance of Regent’s Decree No. 693/309/Per-UU/2019, the management of the Supply System for Drinking Water (SPAM) in Sentul City and the area around it became the responsibility of Perumdam Tirta Kahuripan Kabupaten Bogor. This allowed the residents to become customers of the company. However, the company agreed to help PT Sentul City in imposing BPPL on customers and refusing to provide services to those who have yet to pay their fees. This agreement was a form of breach of law committed by a government agency. Residents of Sentul City filed a lawsuit against Perumdam Tirta Kahuripan at PTUN Bandung due to their actions contradicting the procedure and substances of the domestic laws and the general principles of good governance (AUPB).
The residents of Sentul City won the lawsuit with the verdict of Decision No. 28/G/2021/PTUN BDG. It stated that Perumdam was obligated to terminate the requirement for customers to resolve their civil issues in order to become customers, to immediately grant them access to clean water, and to accept them as customers and impose water tariffs that are in accordance with what was set by the local government of the Bogor Regency at once. The decision also required the company to manage SPAM for residents of Sentul City regardless of whether further legal proceedings take place.
This victory not only granted the residents’ right to running water back, but it also contributed to the return of previously privatized water supply service to the state (remunicipalization) which increased state income derived from public facilities provided by the government. Based on data from 2016 regarding PT Sukaputra Graha Cemerlang’s customers, 7,916 units from the Sentul City residency area utilizes SPAM and had a water per unit usage of 20m3/month. With this data, if a tariff of Rp.8.275/m3 is imposed – like as stated as on the Perumdam website (26/08/2021), the estimated state income per month in 2021 would be Rp1.310.098.000,00. Therefore the annual state income deriving from the water distribution in the Sentul City are would be Rp15.721.176.000,00.
Advocacy and legal efforts to return water services to the government have approximately helped the government save more than 15 billion rupiahs annually. Residents have also contributed in the return of a privatized water supply service to the state, which proved to be beneficial for the state since the number of consumers had increased. This incident shows that the advocacy for human rights not only benefits citizens, but it also gives back responsibility for the welfare of Indonesian citizens to the state.