Electricity bill subsidies proposed

Electricity bill subsidies proposed

(Bangkok Post file photo)
(Bangkok Post file photo)

The Energy Ministry will ask the cabinet for approval to subsidise up to 100% of electricity usage in excess of what households used in February.

Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said on Monday the measure will benefit some 20 million households.

The deductions — 30%, 50% and 100% — apply to the number of units in excess of what households used in their February bills. The measure takes effect retroactively from March, when the stay-at-home measure was introduced, to May this year.

Free use of electricity will also be extended to cover more households — those using not more than 150 units per month from up to 90 units at present, he said.

Around 10 million households with meters up to five amperes and using not more than 150 units a month need not pay electricity bills during the three-month period.

Another 10 million households with meters more than five amperes will get deductions from the number of units in excess of what they used in February.

The benefits for this group vary based on their monthly usage.

Those using not more than 800 units per month during the period need not pay for the differences. If a household’s power bills are 300 units in February and 700 units in March, they need not pay for the 400 additional units in March and pay the same amount they did in February.

For households that use 800-3,000 units a month, a 50% deduction applies. A household using 500 units in February and 1,000 units in March will pay for 50% of the additional 500 units, or 250 units. When combined with what they paid in February, they need to pay for 750 units in total.

Those using more than 3,000 units will get a 30% cut from the extra usage by the same calculation. The total units after the cuts will then be calculated using progressive rates as usual.

The savings will automatically be deducted from their bills of the following month. No cash will be handed out.

Mr Sontiya said the subsidy will be partially financed by the Energy Regulatory Commission and the cost was still unknown.

The measure came after complaints about April power bills by several people, some of whom claimed their bills tripled what they paid in February. While the summer heat is partly to blame for the higher bills, they felt it was not justified given the downward trend of world oil prices.

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