Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisarn has put the country on alert for an energy crisis in April when routine maintenance cuts off the flow from the Yadana natural gas platform in Myanmar. But not all is doom and gloom. That particular shutdown will occur during a natural period of reduced demand as factories here close to allow workers to celebrate Chakri Day and Songkran. This is not work that can be deferred. When essential maintenance is neglected, a genuine crisis point could be reached and then the country could be plunged into a fully fledged emergency.
Mr Pongsak makes the valid point that we lack a coherent long-term energy policy and need a wake-up call now that demand threatens to exceed supply. And, while there are several possible solutions, none of them are attractive. But building an environmentally hideous coal-fired power plant in Krabi, as has been proposed, must surely rank as the least attractive of all. This province is deservedly one of the country's biggest tourist attractions because of its natural beauty.
The choice of such an inappropriate site requires further explanation as does the rush to increase skytrain fares and electricity charges because of the threatened shortfall in power supplies in April, which will last little more than a week. A week in which many regular passengers will have returned to their homes in the provinces and reductions in BTS services would normally be expected. Hiking power and commuter fares could trigger a new inflationary spiral at a time when household budgets are already stretched thin.
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