Survey suggests power bills should be coalition's priority
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Survey suggests power bills should be coalition's priority

FTI members relay message to parties

Most entrepreneurs want the new government to follow through on its pledge to reduce power bills, referred to in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the Move Forward Party and seven other political parties, according to the latest survey by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

Adjusting energy prices gained the most votes, with 75.8% of 252 executives across 45 industries under the FTI considering this to be the most important and urgent issue among those listed in the MoU.

In the MoU, signed on May 22 by parties intending to form a Move Forward Party-led coalition government, the signatories agreed to restructure the power tariff and electricity production structure to ease the cost of living.

It is among 23 issues agreed upon by the eight parties which want to build a new Thailand through their ambitious economic and social development plans.

"Energy cost is a main expense in the industrial sector. Its increase not only drives up operating costs among businesses, but also leads to a high cost of living for households," said Montri Mahaplerkpong, vice-chairman of the FTI.

Both businesses and households are paying a new power tariff of 4.70 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit) between May 1 and Aug 31, a slight decrease from the first four-month cycle.

During the first four months of this year, businesses paid 5.33 baht per unit, up 13% from the previous record high of 4.72 baht per unit, while households paid 4.72 baht per unit.

The eight parties agreed on May 30 to form a committee to prepare for a transition of power from the Prayut Chan-o-cha administration. Seven working panels were also set up to deal with a range of social, legal, environmental and economic issues, including the impact of high electricity prices.

Kriengkrai Thiennukul, chairman of the FTI, said earlier high energy prices would affect Thailand's ability to attract foreign investment and could cause foreigners to delay their investment plans here.

Some foreigners who signed investment agreements with Thai firms decided to cancel the deals because of this problem, he said.

According to the FTI poll, an intention to promote a culture of transparency to tackle corruption received votes tallying 71.4%, while reducing inequality and ensuring fair economic growth came third with 65.9%.

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