FTI anticipates lower May power tariff

FTI anticipates lower May power tariff

Group sees ceiling of 5 baht a unit

The current power tariff for businesses, in effect from January to April this year, is 5.33 baht a unit.
The current power tariff for businesses, in effect from January to April this year, is 5.33 baht a unit.

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) expects the new mid-year power tariff, which is used to calculate electricity bills, to not exceed 5 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit) following a drop in liquefied national gas (LNG) prices.

The current rate for businesses, in effect from January to April, is 5.33 baht a unit.

Energy authorities are discussing the adjustment of the tariff, to be imposed from May to August.

The decrease in LNG prices will lower the fuel tariff (Ft), a key component of the power tariff, which will eventually lead to cheaper electricity bills, said Isares Rattanadilok na Phuket, vice-chairman of the FTI.

"Thailand has struggled to deal with the energy price crisis since mid-2022, with the impact clearly seen in the business sector," he said.

One facet is Thailand's weakened ability to draw foreign investment because of higher power bills than those in neighbouring countries, said Mr Isares.

According to the FTI, some investors who signed investment agreements with local firms decided to cancel the deals because of this problem.

Thailand's Ft is relatively high compared with those in neighbouring countries.

High-voltage electricity cables operated by Pathum Thani Provincial Electricity Authority. (Photo: Pattanapong Hirunard)

According to the Office of Industrial Economics, Thailand has the third-highest Ft rate in Asean, behind Singapore and the Philippines. Previously Thailand was ranked fourth after Cambodia.

Energy officials are working on a new power tariff rate and plan to ask the government to choose the most appropriate rate. Authorities said earlier they may keep the power tariff unchanged or trim it for the next period.

In the middle of February, prices of LNG in the spot market fell to US$15-16 per million British thermal units (MMBTU), down from $35-40 per MMBTU during the fourth quarter of last year, said Kulit Sombatsiri, permanent secretary for energy.

The FTI said a state-private committee has been set up to discuss the expansion of gas production in the Gulf of Thailand and Myanmar's Gulf of Martaban.

Gas from these areas can support the petrochemical industry because it is not expensive, said the FTI.

"The Department of Mineral Fuels and national oil and gas conglomerate PTT should pay heed to the committee's advice," said Mr Isares.

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