Energy commission warns that failure to cut power usage in June will lead to blackouts during maintenance period
The private sector has agreed to reduce energy consumption to prevent blackouts in the 14 southern provinces during the 28 days in June when gas production from the Thai-Malaysian Joint Development Area (JDA) is halted for maintenance.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) secretary-general Kawin Thangsupanich said power cuts would occur in some southern provinces between June 13 and July 10 if the campaign to get the private sector to reduce energy consumption failed.
Kawin said the private sector had agreed to reduce power consumption from 6.30am to 10.30am each day. Among the companies coming on board were large manufacturing and retail operators such as Siam Construction Steel, Siam Iron and Steel, Tesco Lotus, Central Pattana, Siam Makro, Big C Supercentre, Siam Paragon, Asia Cement and Thanakorn Vegetable Oil Products.
The energy authorities have targeted reducing power consumption by 200-300 megawatts during the maintenance period.
The plan to cut power in some areas is aimed at preventing blackouts in the 14 southern provinces, which experienced blackouts in May last year.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand has submitted the power-cut plan for ERC's approval..
The plan features five levels of power demand in different areas.
Egat will cut power in locations that do not cover a wide area and the Provincial Electricity Authority will cut power in areas where demand for power ranges from level two to five.
The areas will lose power for no more than two hours each time.
The ERC is awaiting approval from the National Energy Policy Office for its proposal to compensate businesses that reduce their power consumption by giving them discounted electricity bills.
Without production from the JDA, total power capacity will be 2,158 megawatts, a 385-megawatt shortfall. However, the state and private sector have about 100 megawatts of power in reserve, meaning there will only be a 285-megawatt shortfall.
Kawin said campaigns to get the public and businesses to reduce electricity consumption were necessary.
“Since the margin between demand and supply of electricity is narrow, there is a need to have a contingency plan to cut power in some areas to prevent blackouts like what happened in May last year, although we are confident that we will receive cooperation from the public and the private sector to cut power to the targeted level,’’ he said.