May 13, 2014 00:00
By WATCHARAPONG THONGRUNG
VETERAN ENERGY expert Piyasvasti Amranand yesterday announced the launch of a new group to propose reforms ensuring energy sustainability.
The group will propose to the new government six key issues to make energy consumption in Thailand reflect its real cost and to increase competitiveness in the energy sector.
At a press conference yesterday, (May 12), Piyasvasti outlined the group’s objectives along with 32 other participants representing state agencies and business organisations.
His group includes former Industry Ministry permanent |secretary Manu Leopairote; |former PTT Exploration and Production chief executive officer Anont Sirisaengtaksin; Energy Ministry deputy permanent secretary Kurujit Nakornthap; Thammasat University economics lecturer Plaipol Kumsap; Toshiba |Thailand chairwoman Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul; former Bangchak Petroleum executive Manoon Siriwan; and independent energy experts.
He said that over the past three or four years, there had been a lot of reports presenting misleading information about the country’s energy sector.
“These could make people mistakenly believe that we have so many petroleum reserves that we can quote low prices for liquefied petroleum gas, natural gas for vehicles and [other] fuel. Meanwhile, no experts have opened their mouths,” Piyasvasti said.
He hopes that the combined expertise of the energy reform group will be beneficial to the economy in the long run. He insisted it was not being formed at this particular time for anyone’s political benefit or according to the hidden agendas of any agencies.
The six issues to be proposed to the new government include restructuring the prices of each type of energy to reflect the real costs by equalising taxes and Oil Fund contributions between petrol and diesel. In this way, petrol users would no longer have to shoulder the cost burden for diesel users.
Energy subsidies should be discontinued except to help specific groups and not to affect the market mechanism.
The energy sector would be reformed to ensure fair competition and efficiency. PTT should sell all stakes in refineries. such as those of Bangchak Petroleum and Star Petroleum Refining (SPRC).
The Provincial Electricity Authority and Metropolitan Electricity Authority should be under the supervision of the Energy Ministry. for management efficiency.
Piyasvasti added that there should be a reduction in political intervention in the energy companies that are owned by the state as well as protection against conflicts of interest. There should also be improved regulations in licensing policy and processes.
Moreover, the exploration for and development of energy should be transparent, especially informational aspects.
Conservation of energy and use of renewable energy should be promoted and facilitated more.