The Central Administrative Court on Monday ruled in favour of a grass roots group seeking disclosure of a power plant developer's power purchase agreement in a historic case that will set a precedent on the people's access to confidential business information.
Gulf JP UT Co filed a complaint with the court in 2009, asking the court to nullify the decision made by the Office of the Official Information Commission (OIC) and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) ordering the company to reveal the power purchase agreement they made with Egat.
The OIC and Egat made their resolution after the People's Network against Power Plant Projects petitioned Egat to reveal the power deal signed with the company, which is a developer of a 1,600-megawatt natural gas-fuelled power plant in Bang Khla district of Chachoengsao.
The court dismissed the company's request, reasoning that the 1997 Official Information Act guarantees the people's right of access to state information except when such disclosure will cause explicit damage to the involved parties.
In this case, the court viewed that the disclosure of the power purchase agreement would not cause business damage to the company. Moreover, the villagers' request is based on their concerns over the project's negative impacts on their livelihood, not for business purposes.
Therefore, the disclosure of the power purchase agreement is in line with the law and does not violate the confidential business information law.
The court was also unconvinced by the company's claim that the agreement revelation would affect the country's power security because the power plant project does not affect Thailand's macro economy.
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