Gas caps from next month

Gas caps from next month

The Energy Ministry plans to cap the price of cooking gas at 325.5 baht per 15-kilogramme cylinder and the price of natural gas for vehicles (NGV) at 13.62 baht per kg for public transport in August and September, say Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong.

The announcement also said that PTT, the national oil and gas conglomerate, will pay for the subsidies.

"The capped prices for cooking gas and NGV are an urgent task for the ministry," said Mr Sontirat after a discussion with Kulit Sombatsiri, permanent secretary of the ministry, and other officials.

Mr Sontirat said the measures will be effective for two months to reduce people's living expenses, including food hawkers and vendors who use cooking gas.

For public transport, taxis, buses, minibuses and vans are eligible for the capped NGV price.

PTT has allocated 30 million baht for subsidies to help 200,000 hawkers and vendors. The capped price is 37.5 baht cheaper than the market price of 363 baht per 15kg cylinder.

Hawkers and vendors can buy a maximum of 150kg per month.

This measure brings prices to the same level as those for the state welfare smartcard, but cardholders have a maximum purchase amount of 75kg per month.

PTT earmarked 1.936 billion baht for the LPG direct subsidy from February 2015 to June 2019.

On April 19 the ministry decided to gradually increase the NGV price by a total of three baht per kg from a capped price of 10.62 baht previously to 13.62 baht.

The decision increases the price by one baht per kg every four months -- on Sept 16 this year and Jan 16 next year.

The price of NGV will reach 15.62 baht per kg in mid-January.

After the latest measure, the one-baht increase in September will be put off.

Mr Sontirat said these measures for managing energy prices are appropriate given the economy's standing.

Low-income earners and small companies have to be prioritised groups for support measures.

"When low-income people cannot purchase electricity and fuel, the ministry has a duty to improve accessibility," he said.

The energy sector is central to the cost of living and business operations, so the ministry should intervene where there are high energy costs, said Mr Sontirat.

The Energy Ministry will have a mid-term plan to promote consumption of biodiesel B10 and B20 to address the surplus of crude palm oil.

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