Prayut cancels planned power tariff hike

Prayut cancels planned power tariff hike

Electricity towers and power lines are seen at Chatuchak station.
Electricity towers and power lines are seen at Chatuchak station.

A new higher power tariff is to be postponed following an intervention by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to curb rising living costs, says a source at the Energy Ministry.

The higher tariff was due to be imposed between September and December this year, but now it will not be increased.

The new rate, which had been authorised by the Energy Regulatory Commission, was initially scheduled to be announced on Monday, according to the source who requested anonymity.

The new power tariff was earlier expected to rise to 4.72 baht per kilowatt hour, up from a rate of 4 baht between May and August. The fuel tariff (Ft), a key element in the power tariff, is expected to rise to 0.93 baht per kilowatt hour, up from 0.24 baht.

The planned rise was blamed on higher energy prices following sanctions imposed by the US and its allies on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine in February.

Global crude oil prices have been increasing since late last year when many countries relaxed measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. Demand for oil also increased when Western nations entered the winter period.

A higher power tariff has also resulted from a huge decline in the domestic gas supply from the Gulf of Thailand, causing the country to import more expensive liquefied natural gas.

Gas makes up around 60% of the fuel used to generate electricity in Thailand.

The state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) has subsidised the power tariff to help relieve pressure on the cost of living, but this has cost it more than 87 billion baht.

Last month the government gave Egat permission to borrow 30 billion baht from banks to help it deal with the huge financial burden.

Meanwhile, this week the Energy Policy Administration Committee (Epac) is also expected to raise the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which is used as cooking gas.

The LPG price will increase to between 393 and 408 baht per 15-kilogramme standard cylinder in August and September, respectively, permanent secretary for energy Kulit Sombatsiri said earlier. Mr Kulit is a member of Epac.

The increase is part of the government's efforts to relieve the burden on the state's Oil Fuel Fund, which is used to subsidise diesel and LPG prices.

The fund has already run up losses of over 166 billion baht.

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