Eastern Bangkok's Bang Chan Industrial Estate will likely be affected the most by the disruption of natural gas supplies from Myanmar in April, says the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT).
Thana Putarungsi (right), Egat’s deputy governor for transmission systems, gives a briefing on the power situation to 300 industrial operators at the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand yesterday. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL
While the overall situation is manageable, IEAT governor Veerapong Chaiperm said April 5 and April 8-10 will remain a critical period for the manufacturing sector.
At present, some 40 industrial estates nationwide use a combined 3,700 megawatts of electricity per day.
"I think Bang Chan is the most vulnerable, as it is in Min Buri district, one of three areas the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) has singled out as being at risk of brownouts," he said.
The other two areas are Lat Phrao district and Ratchadaphisek Road.
Eighty-one factories operate in the Bang Chan Industrial Estate, mostly in the food sector.
"The overall situation is manageable, but we need cooperation from them to alternate and rearrange production dates for overall stability," Mr Veerapong said.
"I don't think this will affect foreign direct investment, as we know the situation in advance and have prepared measures to deal with it."
The IEAT yesterday met with 300 operators to come to a common understanding about possible power outages.
Thana Putarungsi, the deputy governor for transmission systems, said blackouts are possible in the worst case, as the power reserve is estimated at 767 MW on April 5, when consumption is projected to peak at 26,300 MW.
This year's reserve falls below the country's normal rate of 1,200 MW due mainly to the disruption of 1.1 billion cubic feet per day of Myanmar's natural gas during platform maintenance at the Yadana field from April 5-14.
"Such a low reserve means if a power generator with a capacity of 700 MW breaks down that day, power outages are possible," Mr Thana told the IEAT meeting.
"In case we need to switch off the power supply, hospitals, businesses and the industrial sector will be the last groups affected. But we hope the situation will not be that bad," he said.
"Egat and the other two utilities will do our best to help you through this crisis."
As a precaution, Mr Thana urged industrial operators to step up manufacturing and increase inventories ahead of the scheduled gas disruption and reduce or suspend production on April 5 instead.
Egat will meet with independent power producers today to discuss more measures.
Together with the Metropolitan Electricity Authority and the Provincial Electricity Authority, Egat will finalise the plan next Tuesday, while the scheme for the public will be done on March 14.
Egat also yesterday entered into a joint venture to set up the 27-billion-baht Nam Ngiep 1 power plant in Laos.
Under the agreement, Egat will hold 30% in the venture through its wholly owned Egat International Co, while Japan's Kansai Electric will hold 45% through its wholly owned KPIC Netherlands BV.
The remaining 25% will be held by Vientiane's state-owned Lao Holding State Enterprise.
The hydropower plant will become operational in 2019, producing 289 MW _ 20 MW for Electricite du Laos and the rest for Thailand.
Somboon Arayasakul, Egat International's president, said the investment will add more clean renewable energy to both countries' grids.
About the author
- Writer: Nareerat Wiriyapong
Position: Business Reporter