Egat to plug loophole in bill subsidy
Rejig targets rich property owners
The state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) is considering blocking high-end property owners from receiving a free electric bill when they use less than 50 kilowatt-hours.
Egat governor Viboon Rerksirathai said officials will seek methods to screen out residences owned by high-income earners that are vacation homes and at times use less electricity.
Use of less than 50kWh a month means the power bill is free under a government programme, though Egat's conditions were designed to help low-income earners only.
"Egat will find how to screen them out from this unfair programme of the state utility," Mr Viboon said. "The screening-out method will be concluded by March, and Egat plans to propose it to the Energy Regulatory Commission for approval."
The Thailand Development Research Institute reported that the measure was launched in 2008 and the state utility paid subsidies of 870 million baht in 2019.
For the liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipment business, Egat is planning to set up a wholly owned company to oversee the unit after Egat tests the LNG operating system during the December-March period.
Egat was approved by the government last year to import LNG legally in alignment with a promoting policy to allow free trade of natural gas in the country.
Egat has already succeeded with import volume of 130,000 tonnes. The first batch of 65,000 tonnes was delivered to Rayong in late December.
The second volume is to be shipped in April.
In addition, Egat is studying the feasibility of a third LNG shipment of roughly 1 million tonnes because LNG prices have dipped globally and the baht's appreciation benefits importation.
Tawatchai Jakpaisal, Egat's deputy governor for fuel, said the third LNG shipment is planned for three of Egat's gas-fired power plants: South Bangkok in Samut Prakan, Bang Pakong in Chachoengsao and Wang Noi in Ayutthaya.
"Egat wants to respond to the government's policy to accelerate massive import of fuels after the LNG reference price from the Japan-Korea market dropped to US$4 per million British thermal units recently, compared with $7 per million BTU last October," Mr Tawatchai said.
"Locally produced natural gas has a price of $7-8 per million BTU, cited from the state pipeline pool price," he said. "Egat has to seek other possibilities to maintain or cut power tariffs."
Mr Tawatchai said Egat plans to proceed with the third LNG shipment in the first half, therefore the shipment will be delivered in the third quarter.