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South power restored after Thailand’s “worst-ever” blackout (updated)

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Thailand’s worst ever power outage is over, says Egat, but worried residents of the South are still anxious after the entire region was left in the dark for two hours last evening. (Update: Lightning was likely responsible, but the damage seems remarkably minor) 

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A family in the South eats by candlelight, not out of choice, but necessity as a major power outage hit the area. VICHAYANT BOONCHOTE

Evening update: The Thai PBS news team finally did reach the site of the disruption and it does seem lightning was involved. But the damage was remarkable minor, leaving people wondering how it could have caused the whole southern electrical system to shut down. This should be an interesting story to follow.

Noon update: A Thai PBS news team is trying to find exactly where the disruption occurred last night. Thus far, they have not succeeded. There are now conflicting reports, with some saying a lightning strike was a possibility while others say it was a technical problem.

conflicting – having serious differences that cannot all be right at the same time ที่ขัดแย้งกัน

Morning update: Speaking on Thai PBS this morning, Thana Putarangsi, Egat deputy governor who oversees the power transmission system, said the situation was now back to normal. He said a lightning strike was the probable cause of the disruption. He said the only viable long-term solution was to increase power production in the South itself. He also said that Malaysia had little or no excess supply to sell to Thailand.


Click button to listen to Southern blackout and rightclick to download

South hit by huge electricity blackout

Govt assures worst-ever outage not tied to unrest

Post reporters

A massive power blackout hit 14 southern provinces Tuesday night after a transmission failure in Prachuap Khiri Khan cut off supply from the Central Region.

The outage, described as the biggest in the country's history by an Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) official, hit several key business towns and popular tourist destinations including Hat Yai, Koh Samui and Phuket.

The blackout left southerners, especially those living in the three restive southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, in a state of panic.

Authorities said the power blackout was caused by a faulty high-voltage cable from Ratchaburi to Bang Saphan district in Prachuap Khiri Khan, the main power transmission line from the Central region to the South.

Hat Yai, the biggest city in the South, was lit only by cars on the main streets after Tuesday night's blackout over 14 provinces in the far South.

The government assured in a television announcement on Tuesday night that the power outage was caused by a problem with the transmission line and was not linked to the southern unrest.

Key business establishments such as hotels and airports which had their own emergency generators were spared from the blackout which took place between 6pm to 8pm.

Egat announced at 9.30pm that the power supply had been restored although not to all households.

Sirichai Maingram, president of Egat's Employees Union, said it was the biggest outage the country has ever experienced.

To deal with the blackout, Egat ordered all its power plants in the South to boost electricity generation to full capacity. That included power generation from diesel in Surat Thani province and from fuel oil in Krabi. Despite the increased power supply, brownouts continued in many areas in the South.

Egat said it was negotiating with Malaysia to buy electricity from it to make up for the shortfall while it repairs the power transmission lines in Bang Saphan district.

At present, the South requires 2,500 megawatts of electricity supply while local power plants can generate 2,000 megawatts. The other 500 megawatts are supplied from the Central Plains.

There are currently four power plants – in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla, Krabi and Surat Thani provinces.

Numchai Lowattanatrakul, governor of the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), said the blackout happened in all 14 southern provinces at 7.15pm and it resulted from the problem at the 500-kilowatt power transmission station in Bang Saphan district. As it is a large transmission station, the malfunction caused a total blackout in the South.

He said regional blackouts lasted about half an hour in each area.

PEA officials were deployed to ration power. They also operated mobile generation units to supply power to villages and important locations including hospitals and police stations.

Pongsak Semson, director and acting president of Airports of Thailand said Hat Yai and Phuket airports were not affected because they were equipped with emergency generators.

However, he said he told the directors of the two airports to be on standby around the clock and to step up security to ensure passengers' safety.

necessity – the fact that something must happen or be done; the need for something; a situation that must happen and that cannot be avoided ความจำเป็น
outage – power cut ช่วงเวลาที่ไม่มีกระแสไฟฟ้า
deputy – a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation รอง
oversee – to watch or organise a job or an activity to make certain that it is being done correctly คุมงาน,ควบคุม
transmission – the act or process of passing something from one place, person or thing to another การส่งผ่าน,การส่งต่อ
normal – typical, usual or ordinary; what you would expect ภาวะปกติ
lightning – a flash, or several flashes, of very bright light in the sky caused by electricity ฟ้าผ่า, ฟ้าแลบ, สายฟ้า
disruption – a situation in which something cannot continue because of a problem การขัดขวาง, การหยุดชะงัก
viable – able to work as intended or able to succeed ซึ่งใช้การได้ (แผนการ, คำแนะนำ) ซึ่งประสบผลสำเร็จได้
excess – greater than is usual; too much of something   มากเกินปริมาณที่พอดี
blackout – a sudden loss of electrical power ไฟดับ
assure – to tell someone that something is true or will definitely happen ให้ความมั่นใจ, ยืนยัน
tied – connected พัวพัน
unrest – angry or violent behaviour by people who are protesting or fighting against something สถานการณ์ที่ไม่สงบ
massive – very large ใหญ่มหาศาล
destination – the place where someone or something is going  จุดหมายปลายทาง
restive – (of a group of people) impatient or becoming difficult to control because they are dissatisfied วุ่นวาย ไม่สงบ ควบคุมยาก ดื้อรั้น หัวแข็ง
state – condition สภาพ
panic – a sudden strong feeling of fear or worry that causes you to be unable to think clearly or calmly ความตื่นตกใจ
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
faulty – not perfectly made or not working correctly ซึ่งมีข้อผิดพลาด
linked – connected เชื่อมโยง
key – most important  ที่สำคัญ
establishment – an organisation, an institution or a hotel สถานประกอบการ
generator – a machine that produces electricity  เครื่องกำเนิดไฟฟ้า
spare – to prevent someone from having to experience something unpleasant ยกโทษให้,อภัยโทษ
restore – to cause a particular situation to exist again, especially a good one ฟื้นฟูสภาพ
household – a group of people, often a family, who live together  ครัวเรือน
employee – someone who is paid regularly to work for a person or an organisation ลูกจ้าง
union – an organisation of workers that aims to improve pay and conditions of work สหภาพแรงงาน
boost – to increase เพิ่ม
capacity – the amount of something that can be produced  ความสามารถในการ (ผลิต)
brownout – a period of time when the amount of electrical power that is supplied to an area is reduced  การดับไฟบางส่วนของตัวเมือง,ภาวะไฟตก
negotiate – to try to reach an agreement by discussing something in a formal way เจรจาต่อรอง
shortfall – an amount which is less than the level that was expected or needed จำนวนที่ขาดไป, ปริมาณที่ขาดไป
repair – to fix something that is broken or damaged ซ่อมบำรุง
currently – at this time; now ในปัจจุบัน
malfunction – a failure to work or operate correctly    ทำงานผิดปกติ
total – complete เต็มที่
regional – of or relating to a region  เกี่ยวกับภูมิภาค
last – to continue for a particular length of time กินเวลา
deploy – to put in place ready for action ส่ง ประจำการ
ration – to limit the amount of something that somebody is allowed to have, especially because there is not enough of it available  ปันส่วน, แบ่งสรร
mobile – able to move or be moved around ซึ่งเคลื่อนที่ได้ง่าย
acting – doing the work of the usual person in a particular job while they are not there, or until a new person starts ที่รักษาการแทน
emergency – an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary เหตุฉุกเฉิน
on standby – ready for use เตรียมพร้อม, สำรอง
step up – to increase เพิ่ม
security – protection; systems providing for safety from attack, harm, or damage ระบบรักษาความปลอดภัย
ensure – to make certain that something happens or is done  ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ

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