Former executives and a labour union leader of state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) have called on the government to allow Egat to produce more power in order to depend less on electricity purchased from power companies, which is blamed for placing an additional financial burden on Egat.
The electricity supplied by Egat currently amounts to less than 34% of the country's total supply, with the majority coming from power companies.
Authorities should consider increasing Egat's capacity to 51%, said Thammayouth Southivicha, former president of the Labour Union of Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (LU-Egat).
"Overdependence on private power plants will lead to a higher power tariff because Egat is committed to AP [availability payment] for the companies," said Mr Thammayouth, after he and other former Egat executives released a statement urging the government to come up with energy policies that best suit the country.
They also plan to submit their proposals to Energy Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga.
Power purchase agreements, each lasting 25 years, made between Egat and power firms commit the authority to paying for electricity throughout the whole period. This is known as an AP, although the actual usage may be less during the agreed timeframe.
"AP accounts for around 20% of power bills, but Egat bears this expense without passing it onto people," said Mr Thammayouth.
If Egat produces more of its own electricity, power bills will become less costly, he said.
When Thailand was hit by the pandemic in 2020, the average electricity demand sharply decreased, but Egat, the country's sole power purchaser, still had to pay 9.16 billion baht for AP that year.
"It is time for the government to seriously consider abandoning AP in power purchase agreements because it is private power producers who take advantage of this amount of money," said Pichet Chuchuen, former chief of Chana power plant in Songkhla and Bang Pakong power plant in Chachoengsao.
He is aware that the termination of AP may have an impact on power companies' debt payment to their creditors, so this proposal needs careful consideration, especially from Mr Pirapan.
The group of former Egat executives also wants the government to speed up the appointment of a new Egat governor.
The appointment process has already taken more than four months after the Egat board resolved to appoint Thepparat Theppitak, president of Electricity Generating Plc, a subsidiary of Egat, to replace Boonyanit Wongrukmit.