Tangled overhead wires of Bangkok: Bill Gates concerned

Tangled overhead wires of Bangkok: Bill Gates concerned

Tangled wires above Bangkok street (Source: Bill Gates Facebook page)
Tangled wires above Bangkok street (Source: Bill Gates Facebook page)

Bangkok's tangled wires, well-known for making a big mess when trucks knock down 18+ power poles, misunderstood by the billionaire philanthropist.


Tangled overhead wires of Bangkok: Bill Gates concerned  

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates posted a photo of a tangled mess of Bangkok overhead wires to his Facebook page last week, the kind that the city is famous for (see here).

Gates thought the tangled wires were electricity wires.

Bill Gates is the closest thing to a Superman of the 21st century, wiping out deadly diseases with large infusions of cash into medical research, but this time he allowed his imagination get the best of him.

He should have used Wikipedia to fact check before posting or asked an electrician

The tangled mess was from residents tapping illegally into the public electricity supply, Gates further declared. 

Foreign tourists pass a tangle of overhead power lines on Khao San Road.  NATTAPOL LOVAKIJ


A trained electrician quickly explained to Gates what was going on.

The tangled mess consisted of "low voltage/communication/internet lines not electricity for people's houses.  The lines u see directly above the disaster of a mess is the actual power for houses and what not, the lines are always ran the same starting at the lowest voltage/telephone/internet at the bottom, it's just common sense bill gates."

Admittedly, this all does make you wonder where the street vendors found all over Bangkok sidewalks get their electricity from.

According to one informed source (sitting next to me), in his neighbourhood the street vendors run a long extension cord into the home or shop next to them and pay a daily fee to the owner for their electricity.

Here is what Bill Gates posted to his Facebook page: 

"Due to faulty infrastructure, many urban areas suffer (from)fromfrequent blackouts and power cuts, and the electrical grid often doesn’t serve the people who need it most."

"I’ve visited many cities filled with tangled wires such as those in this photo from Thailand, where people have illegally tapped into the grid on their own to get the power they need—at great personal risk."

Sometimes wires fall down due to a crash or storm, creating a hazard for pedestrians.


Concrete power poles collapse easily as they carry an excessive load of utility lines.

Typically, a big truck accidentally runs into one pole setting off a chain reaction causing a whole series of poles to collapse, one after another.

Road accidents often result in power poles being knocked down.

The Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) is on the verge of laying its power lines and cables underground after starting the project in 2011.

Most telecoms and broadcasters currently rent cement poles from the MEA and the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) to lay their telecommunications wires, cables and optical fibre lines together with the electricity authorities' power lines.

But in recent years, state electricity enterprises have denied requests from telecoms wanting to rent their poles to lay lines.

State agencies say their poles can no longer support the weight of new lines.

Putting electricity wires underground would improve the beauty of city & prevent the collapse of concrete poles carrying too much weight, but would cost tens of billion of baht.


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  • accidentally (adverb): when something happens by accident (was not expected or planned) - โดยบังเอิญ
  • according to (prep): as stated or reported by somebody/something - ตามคำบอกเล่า, ตามรายงาน
  • actually: used for stressing what is really true or what really happened - ตามความเป็นจริง
  • admittedly: it is true that -
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • billionaire: having more than a billion pounds, dollars (or a billion baht in Thailand) - คนที่รวยมากๆ มีทรัพย์สินพันล้านดอลล่าร์
  • blackout: a sudden loss of electrical power - ไฟดับ
  • broadcaster: a person, company or organisation whose job is presenting or talking on television or radio programmes - ผู้กระจายเสียงทางวิทยุหรือโทรทัศน์
  • cable: thick strong metal rope used on ships, for supporting bridges, etc. - สายเคเบิ้ล, เชือกหรือเหล็กเส้นขนาดใหญ่
  • cement: a grey powder made by burning clay and lime that sets hard when it is mixed with water. Cement is used in building to stick bricks together and to make very hard surfaces - ปูนซีเมนต์
  • chain reaction: when one thing happens and this leads to another thing happening - ปฏิกิริยาลูกโซ่
  • check: to look at something written or work that has been done and make sure it is correct - ตรวจ, ตรวจสอบ,
  • collapse: to fall down suddenly - พังลงมา  ล้ม, พังครืน
  • common sense: the ability to think about things in a practical way and make sensible decisions - การใช้ความคิดตัดสินเบื้องต้น, การตัดสินแบบพื้นๆ
  • communications (noun): the process of sending information through television, radio, telephone signals and the internet - การสื่อสาร
  • concrete: a hard substance used in building made by mixing cement, sand, small stones, and water - คอนกรีต
  • consisted of: made of or formed from something - ประกอบด้วย
  • cord (noun): a piece of wire that is covered with plastic, used for carrying electricity to a piece of equipment - สายไฟ, สายเคเบิ้ล
  • currently: at this time; now - ในปัจจุบัน
  • daily (adj.): happening, done or produced every day - แต่ละวัน, ทุกวัน
  • declare: to state something firmly and clearly - ยืนยัน
  • denied (verb): said that something is not true or did not happen - ปฏิเสธ
  • due to: because of - เนื่องจาก
  • electrician: the skilled worker who puts the electrical wires in a building or home -
  • enterprise: an organisation, especially a business - กิจการ, บริษัท,อุตสาหกิจ,วิสาหกิจ
  • excessive: much greater than is usual; too much of something   - มากเกินปริมาณที่พอดี
  • extension: something that is added to make something longer, bigger, etc. - การยืดออก, การยืดขยาย, การเพิ่ม
  • fact: something that is true - ความเป็นจริง
  • faulty: not perfectly made or not working correctly - ซึ่งมีข้อผิดพลาด
  • fee: an amount of money that you pay to be allowed to do something - ค่าธรรมเนียม, ค่าตอบแทน, ค่าบริการ
  • frequent: happening often - เกิดขึ้นบ่อย
  • further: more; additional - มากไปกว่านี้
  • get the best of: to defeat someone; to overcome or overwhelm someone -
  • going on: happening -
  • grid: a set of wires that carries the electricity supply - สายไฟ
  • grid: a system of electric wires for sending power over a large area, or pipes carrying gas - สายไฟฟ้
  • illegally: in a way that is against the law - อย่างผิดกฎหมาย
  • imagination: the ability to form pictures in the mind - จินตนาการ
  • imagination (verb: imagine, adjective: imaginative): the ability to form pictures in the mind - จินตนาการ
  • informed: having the correct information about something; having or showing a lot of knowledge about a particular subject or situation - มีข้อมูลที่ถูกต้อง; ซึ่งรอบรู้
  • infrastructure: a set of systems within a place or organisation that affect how well it operates, e.g., the telephone and transport systems in a country or the system of train tracks that a railway uses - สาธารณูปโภค
  • line: a long thin cord, rope, string or write - สาย, เส้น
  • mess (noun): a dirty or untidy state - สภาพสกปรกและไม่เรียบร้อย
  • metropolitan: relating to a large city - เกี่ยวกับเมืองใหญ่
  • neighbourhood (noun): a particular area of a city or town or other area - ละแวก, ย่าน
  • on the verge of: to be about to do something very soon; to almost be ready to do something very near to the moment when somebody does something or something happens - เกือบจะทำบางสิ่ง
  • optical fibre: high-speed internet lines -
  • overhead (adv): above your head; in the sky - ที่อยู่เหนือหัว
  • personal: your own; not belonging to or connected with anyone else - เป็นส่วนตัว
  • philanthropist: a person who donates and gives money to good causes, to the poor needy and organizations that look after them or do useful research - คนใจบุญสุนทาน,คนใจกุศล
  • pole: a long thin stick, or piece of wood or concrete, often used for holding or supporting something - เสา, หลัก, คาน
  • power (noun): energy from electricity - พลังงาน, พลังงานกล,พลัง, กำลัง, แรง
  • power cut: when the electricity to an area is cut, black out, brown out - ไฟดับ
  • project: a planned piece of work that is designed to find information about something, to produce something new, or to improve something - โครงการ
  • provincial (adj): related to "provinces" , the different parts of a country - ประจำจังหวัด, ส่วนท้องถิ่น
  • public: open to people in general - สาธารณะ
  • request: an act of asking for something in a formal or polite way - การขอร้อง
  • resident: a person who lives in a particular area - ผู้ที่อาศัยในท้องที่
  • risk: the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen - ความเสี่ยง
  • setting off: causing a situation or a series of events to happen, especially without intending to - ก่อให้เกิด
  • sidewalk (noun): a flat part at the side of a road for people to walk on - ทางเดิน, ฟุตบาท
  • source: a place where information comes from; someone who gives information - แหล่ง
  • suffer (from): to be badly affected by a disease, pain, sadness, a lack of something, etc - เป็นโรค, ประสบความทุกข์
  • supply (noun): an amount or quantity of something that is available to buy or use - อุปทาน
  • support (noun): preventing something from falling down or decreasing -
  • tangle: to make something into an untidy disorganised mass - พันกันยุ่ง
  • tangled: twisted together in an untidy way - ซึ่งพันกันยุ่ง
  • tap: to get or make use of something - ใช้เป็นประโยชน์
  • telecom: a business in the telecommunications industry - โทรคมนาคม)
  • telecommunications: the science and technology of sending information by telephone, radio, or television - โทรคมนาคม
  • trained: having received special instruction - ฝึกหัดมาแล้ว
  • typically: usually; normally - อย่างเป็นแบบฉบับ
  • underground: operating secretly and often illegally - ใต้ดิน
  • urban: of or in a city or town - ในเมือง
  • utility: a service provided for the public, for example an electricity, water or gas supply - สาธารณูปโภค, การบริการสาธารณะ
  • wonder: to think about something because you want to know more facts or details about it - สงสัย
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