Electricity available in parts of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan

SURAT THANI - The Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) has on Thursday evening begun feeding electricity into some areas of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan after the two popular tourist destinations were hit by a three-day power blackout.

PEA deputy governor Numchai Lowattanatakul said engineers would take at least 12 hours to repair the damaged high voltage cable in Surat Thani province.

"We've started to feed electricity to some areas [in Samui and Phangan] but it's not 100% yet. The PEA has never encountered this problem before and we would like to apologise to the people there," Mr Numchai said.

PEA assistant governor Chanchai Bunditsawapak said the engineers are still diagnosing the cause of the power blackout.

Mr Charnchai said the PEA usually prepared additional generators during the high tourism season but the blackout occurred unexpectedly.

Photo by Supapong Chaolan

Chatpong Chatphuti, governor of Surat Thani province, has declared Koh Samui and Koh Phangan as disaster zones so that the provincial authority can use 50 million baht from the emergency budget to purchase more fuel and help people in areas without electricity.

Seni Puwasetthawon, president of the Surat Thani Tourism Council, said there are about 18,000 hotel rooms and 4,000 to 5,000 apartment rooms on Samui and Phangan that have been hit hard by the blackout.

"What is worrying is the image of tourism in Koh Samui. Business operators here want the government and other agencies responsible to give importance to this issue because electricity has affected all types of public utilities," Mr Seni said.

Thaweesak Somwong, head of the Samui Tourism Promotion Association, said the three-day blackout has caused damage of at least 10 billion baht to the tourism industry.

"Throughout today, more than 30% of foreign tourists have continually left hotels in Samui and Phangan," said Mr Thaweesak.

Bangkok Airways said that Samui airport is still operating normally and has not yet been affected by the blackout.

Travellers can call the office of Samui airport at 077-428-500 for more information.

Samui airport currently accommodates 36 flights per day and serves several airlines including Bangkok Airways, Singapore's Silk Air and Malaysia's Firefly airline.

Related search: Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, power blackout, PEA

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Writer: Supapong Chaolan
Position: Reporter