Power bills likely stable in 2024
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Power bills likely stable in 2024

Electricity bills in Thailand are unlikely to be trimmed from the existing rate as the power tariff, which is used to calculate the bills, is expected to stay in a range of 4.2-4.25 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit), says Khomgrich Tantravanich, secretary-general of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

The commission agreed earlier to reduce the power tariff to 4.2 baht a unit, down from 4.68 baht a unit, applicable from January to April.

The reduction of the power tariff means it will take longer to repay the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), which ran a huge loss from its previous subsidy programme to control electricity prices. The loss is expected to increase to 110-120 billion baht this year, up from 95 billion as of December last year.

A portion of monthly power bills is usually given to Egat to help it manage its finances.

The 2024 power tariff should be similar to the rate in the first four months because of various factors, including an increase in the domestic gas supply and financial help from national oil and gas conglomerate PTT Plc, said Mr Khomgrich.

Gas production from the Erawan gas field in the Gulf of Thailand is estimated to increase to 800 million standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD) in April. A limited gas supply in the country caused Thailand to import more liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2022 when prices skyrocketed, partly attributed to the war between Russia and Ukraine.

He said he does not expect LNG prices to soar in 2024, remaining in a range from US$10-11 per million British thermal units through the year.

Gas comprises 60% of the fuel used for power generation. In addition to domestic gas supply and LNG, Thailand also imports gas from offshore fields in Myanmar. Gas from Yetagun and Zawtika fields in Myanmar accounts for 16% of Thailand's total gas demand of 4,400 MMSCFD.

PTT also plans to use a fine worth 4.3 billion baht the company is charging its gas supplier for not complying with a gas purchase contract to support the state policy to control the power tariff, said Mr Khomgrich.

"The power tariff is unlikely to decrease below 4 baht a unit as long as Thailand depends on fuel imports and domestic gas supply is declining," he said. "Requests from businesses to cut the rate further is impossible because electricity facility development costs increased since the Russia-Ukraine war."

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