PTT to maintain gas output
Energy policymakers have ordered national oil and gas conglomerate PTT Plc to continue gas production in Myanmar during the Songkran holiday to avoid an electricity interruption from surging demand from home workers.
Imported gas from Myanmar's Yadana, Yetagun and Zawtika blocks account for 25% of the total gas volume in PTT's gas pipeline.
Normally most producers schedule a shutdown in gas production during the Songkran holiday to do maintenance and repairs. Demand peaks during the hot season so gas producers select holidays to avoid power generation interruptions.
Natural gas makes up 60% of Thailand's power generation mix.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) echoed the government's announcement that Songkran has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown.
ERC secretary-general Khomgrich Tantravanich said although power demand is low as malls and offices are closed, this may be offset by the many people working from home.
Mr Khomgrich said the scheduled shutdown of gas production next month includes France's Total for the Yadana block and Malaysia's Petronas for the Yetagun block, while PTT Exploration and Production Plc operates the Zawtika block.
He said ERC is coordinating with state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) and Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) to stand by for the possibility of an electricity interruption, closely monitoring demand during the cancelled holiday.
"Peak demand for electricity is always in April and May, so if Egat has scheduled a shutdown of its power plants, it should postpone that plan," Mr Khomgrich said.
MEA reported to ERC yesterday it will start paying back deposits to power users today, with the first day of payment worth a combined 7 billion baht.
Egat, MEA and PEA set a budget of 33 billion baht for 3.86 million houses and small businesses receiving deposit refunds.
Registered home and business owners are eligible to receive their electricity deposit back from the PEA or MEA, which would normally be returned when ownership changes for the home or business.
Deposits will be returned starting tomorrow through an online platform or via telephone. MEA and PEA expect to pay back 33 billion baht in deposits.
The move is part of state efforts to reduce cost of living expenses during the Covid-19 outbreak, which is causing many job layoffs and business closures.
Meanwhile, PTT and its six SET-listed firms announced they are delaying the annual shareholder general meeting due to the outbreak.