Energy reform plan expected to take shape next week
June 05, 2014 00:00 By WATCHARAPONG THONGRUNG
REFORM OF the country's energy sector, one of the toughest tasks before the junta, is expected to start to take shape next week.
The task this weekend |is to set a target for finalising the energy reform plan, |which is not only about prices but also relevant taxes as well as renewable development policy. The plan will then be proposed to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) for consideration |next week. The reform aims to create equal access to energy. Previously, the NCPO had capped the price of diesel at Bt29.99 per litre and that of cooking gas at Bt26.63 per kilogram until there is a further decision on the country’s energy reform. The junta’s economic chief, Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, yesterday met for three hours his deputy economic chiefs and key persons in energy, including PTT president and chief executive officer Pailin Chuchottaworn and Energy Ministry permanent secretary Suthep Liumsirijarern. In addition, ACM Prajin |said that he already had a |list of names for appointment to a new board of directors |of the National Energy |Policy Committee. The list |of board members for the Board of Investment (BOI) should also be considered |next week. However, there were reports in social media networks that the energy committee’s meeting would lower |oil retail prices. Diesel would |be down to Bt24-25 per litre from the current price of Bt29.99, for example. However, Suthep yesterday denied |that news. Separately, the Thai Energy Reform Watch (TER Watch) group that was launched yesterday, proposed four urgent issues related to energy reform in a way that can return “happiness” to Thais. They urged the government to consider participation of the public sector, cancel the increase in the price of cooking gas, cancellation of the oil price reference to the Singapore market, and improvement of the National Energy Policy Committee’s board members. The group has been formed by various academics and energy experts, including former elected senator Rosana Tositrakul. Former senator Boonyuen Siritham said the aim of the TER Watch group was not to only lower prices of goods. What they really wanted is to foster fairness for future energy consumption in Thailand and to reform a previous energy mechanism that has been dominated by some influential people. In a separate meeting, the NCPO yesterday also agreed on an urgent plan for four projects proposed by the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry worth Bt11.68 billion. The projects include financial support for lowering the price of rubber, shrimps and milk.