Energy conservation campaign planned
An energy austerity campaign is likely to be launched some time close to April, when Myanmar will temporarily stop supplying natural gas needed for electricity production in Thailand due to regular maintenance work. The campaign is needed to cope with the peak electricity consumption period in Thailand, an Energy Regulatory Commissioner said yesterday.In another measure to deal with the situation, the Electricity General Authority of Thailand will consider buying electricity from independent power producers at a unit price lower than cost and at a rate that is cheaper than bunker oil, to minimise the need to import the expensive fuel, said Pallapa Ruangrong. Factories might be asked to operate during night hours, when electricity consumption by households usually reduces, and department stores will be encouraged to turn up the thermostat on their air conditioners. Any companies cooperating with this scheme will be incentivised with a per-unit Bt2 reduction in the electricity fee, compared with a per-unit production cost of Bt6 for production relying on bunker oil, or Bt8 for diesel.
These measures will be proposed to the Energy Ministry for initial consideration, Pallapa said, adding that they could keep Thailand from consuming too much power in April. To cope with a halt in delivery of gas from Myanmar to Thailand in April, stockpiling of a large daily amount of fuel and gas for local consumption is underway, while production of electricity relying on the depleted supplies will be switched temporarily to alternative fuels, Kurujit Nakornthap, a deputy permanent secretary of the Energy Ministry, said yesterday.
The plans are similar to a halt last year, from April 8-17, but it is not yet known how many days this year's halt in operations will last, he said, adding that the annual halt, resulting from regular maintenance work, is allowed for no more than 15 days per year under deals each contractor has with PTT, which is granted concessions by the Myanmar authorities. During the 10-day break last year, LNG needed for electricity production was cut. lost at around 1.1 cubic foot each day, andThree major power plants - two in Ratchaburi and one belonging to TriEnergy Co Ltd - that rely on LNG stopped operating, while three other plants switched to alternative production methods relying on bunker oil, he added.