PEA announces 5-year capital spending plan
The Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), a state power distribution arm, has announced a five-year capital spending plan of 200 billion baht to improve services nationwide and move towards smart technology.
Governor Sompong Preeprem said the plan will turn the PEA into a "digital utility provider" that can manage electricity trade on an online platform under its smart grid and meter project to seize the prosumer technology trend.
The plan will also increase power distribution efficiency, bring overhead electricity lines underground and develop charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs).
The PEA is determined to go ahead with new projects after its three-month subsidy worth 23.5 billion baht for customers' power bills during the lockdown ended in June.
The agency serves about 20 million households in 74 provinces, excluding Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan, with power lines extending 804,068 kilometres.
Over the next five years, Mr Sompong said, the PEA will spend 40 billion baht of capital expenditure each year, though it will not gain profit from its projects in fiscal 2020.
According to the plan, 77.3 billion baht will be allocated for power distribution improvement, covering low- and high-voltage electricity lines of almost 30,000km.
Some 6.5 billion baht will support services for new electricity users in distant areas and those with low population density.
Up to 8.1 billion baht will be spent to develop low-voltage transmission lines in bid to prevent power outages.
A portion of 4.3 billion baht will be used in the underground power line project in downtown areas and tourist spots.
The PEA will also allocate a part of the budget to better rearrange overhead telecommunication lines. Thailand has a total of 18 state-run and private telecom operators that share electricity poles with the PEA.
The lines are blamed for being eyesores and causing accidents.
In the field of smart technology, the PEA in 2018 launched a pilot project in Pattaya by installing more than 2 million smart meters to prepare for online power trade between the government and householders.
In EV business, the PEA will further develop its quick charging outlets for EVs, a project begun in 2018. It plans to build 137 stations between the second half this year and 2021, covering 75 provinces.
Mr Sompong believes EVs will become more popular as prices fall and EVs are increasingly competitive with traditional cars.