Tri Mumpuni

Year founded: 

In areas with abundant water resources, IBEKA partners with rural communities to construct micro-hydro plants to produce electricity. IBEKA also trains villagers to operate and maintain these hydro plants.

Focus: Renewable Energy
Geographic Area of Impact: Indonesia
Model: Leveraged Not-for-Profit
Annual Budget: US$ 663,938 (2011)
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 54,000 people (2012)
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, 2012

Approximately 40% of the Indonesian population still lives in rural areas lacking access to electricity. Due to many obstacles involved in delivering electricity to rural regions, people rely heavily on the forest and forest farming. The People-Centered Business and Economic Institute (IBEKA), recognizes that energy access is critical to community development, since it offers villages the opportunity to engage in new economic activities.

Innovation and Activities
IBEKA partners with rural communities that have abundant water resources to construct micro-hydro plants that produce electricity. IBEKA emphasizes community management of all its micro-hydro plants, and works with communities to develop management plans, set tariffs and train local villagers in operation and maintenance procedures. Once these systems have been constructed, they are community owned and operated.

Although IBEKA relies on grant funding to construct its projects, it has also developed innovative funding mechanisms to maintain the micro-hydro systems. IBEKA lobbied the Indonesian government to set regulations that require the national electricity company to purchase excess electricity from grid-connected systems. Four of the IBEKA-constructed systems are now connected to the grid and capable of selling excess electricity, with the proceeds going to a community social development fund. To date, IBEKA has installed 61 micro-hydro plants, 51 of which are off-grid and supply electricity to approximately 10,000 households. The four plants connected to the grid provide electricity to an additional 1,500 households.

As an economic result, families that previously burned kerosene to produce light paid a cost of up to US$ 6 per month, whereas the average monthly cost for electricity generated by micro-hydro plants is less than US$ 1. An additional benefit is that access to electricity allows communities to connect to the outside world with radios and cell phones. The grid-connected communities capable of selling excess electricity can apply this income to a community fund supporting a variety of benefits, like healthcare for pregnant women, road repairs, household water distribution systems, student scholarships and micro-loans.

The Entrepreneur
Tri Mumpuni (Puni) was born in Java, Indonesia, trained as an agricultural engineer, and earned a degree in Social Economics. She has been engaged in rural development work for more than three decades, and her husband co-founded a non-governmental organization to utilize hydropower for rural development in the 1980's. In 1992, IBEKA was founded as a continuation of her husband's previous endeavour. When Puni joined IBEKA in 1994, she expanded the scope of IBEKA's activities to address the many challenges posed by working in Indonesia, including government restrictions and complicated financial regulations. The company’s success comes largely from Puni's ability to navigate all levels of project engagement, from collaborating with villagers at the grassroots level, to lobbying authorities at the highest levels of government.