Power bills poised to drop by mid-year
published : 1 Feb 2023 at 06:51
newspaper section: Business
writer: Lamonphet Apisitniran
Electricity bills for businesses are likely to become less expensive around mid-year as factors that earlier drove up energy costs are losing steam, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
The prospect of a new fuel tariff (Ft) was greatly anticipated during an informal meeting held on Tuesday by representatives from the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking and state energy agencies.
"A new Ft rate to be enforced between May and August tends to get lower, causing no further impact on businesses and households," said Isares Rattanadilok na Phuket, vice-chairman of the FTI.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) decided to increase the power tariff, which was driven by the higher Ft, by 13% to 5.33 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit), up from a record high of 4.72 baht per unit for businesses, and decided to maintain the power tariff at 4.72 baht per unit for households.
These two rates of power tariff are effective from January to April.
The ERC adjusts the Ft every four months.
"The outcome of the meeting was satisfactory because energy costs tend to decrease," said Mr Isares.
"But we still need to keep monitoring factors behind global energy costs, which are expected to become clearer in March."
Electricity bills may become less expensive because of more output of natural gas in the Gulf of Thailand, especially from the Erawan gas block.
Domestic gas supply is cheaper than imported liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Gas is a key fuel for power generation in Thailand.
Gas production at Erawan decreased to 200 million metric standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD) during 2018 to 2020, when the operatorship changed hands from US-based Chevron Corporation to PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) Plc.
Montri Rawanchaikul, president and chief executive of PTTEP, said earlier he expects gas production to increase to 400-450MMSCFD by mid-year.
According to the FTI, LNG prices in the spot market also fell to US$20 per million British thermal units (BTU) from $50 per million BTU.
- cost of living