Fuel tariff kept steady as oil prices increase

Fuel tariff kept steady as oil prices increase

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has resolved to maintain the fuel tariff (Ft) at an average of -0.1532 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit) to control monthly power bills this year as the global oil price is on an uptrend.

This Ft rate puts the power tariff, which is used to calculate electricity prices, at 3.61 baht per unit in 2021.

The power tariff is made up of the Ft, which varies with fuel costs, and the base tariff, which indicates the costs of power plants and distribution systems. A lower Ft and base tariff mean cheaper electricity bills.

ERC secretary-general Khomgrich Tantravanich said the Ft rate, which is adjusted every four months, will be managed and controlled by a state fund currently valued at 2.61 billion baht.

From September to December last year, the Ft stood at -0.1243 baht. The rate was expected to decrease to -0.1523 baht for January to April this year, then swing between -0.18 baht and -0.08 baht during the remainder of the year, according to the ERC.

The commission estimates global oil prices will rise to US$60 per barrel in March, up from $54.8 per barrel in February.

The baht is expected to depreciate from 30 to the US dollar in February to 31.4 baht in March.

The pool price of natural gas in Thailand is also expected to rise by 7% to 241 baht per million British thermal units (BTUs) between May and August, up from 225 baht per million BTUs between January and April.

Gas accounts for 55% of fuel in power generation in Thailand. Its price is usually adjusted 6-7 months after changes in oil prices.

The price of imported coal is estimated to decline by 2% to 2,261 baht per tonne during May and August, down from 2,302 baht per tonne during January and April.

Domestic lignite prices are expected to stay unchanged until the middle of this year. Coal accounts for 17% of power generation. Major coal-fired power plants are in Thailand and Laos, which exports electricity to Thailand.

Mr Khomgrich said the ERC estimates demand for on-grid electricity will increase by 11.8% from 60.7 billion units to 67.9 billion between the first two four-month periods in 2021.

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