Ministry ridiculed over clay stove idea

Ministry ridiculed over clay stove idea

The Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency promotes use of Tao Maha Setthi or “super” wood-burning stoves as a solution to high cooking gas prices. (Photo: The Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency's Facebook page)
The Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency promotes use of Tao Maha Setthi or “super” wood-burning stoves as a solution to high cooking gas prices. (Photo: The Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency's Facebook page)

The Energy Ministry insists it did not intend to promote Tao Maha Setthee (super rich clay stoves) as a substitute for their gas equivalents, saying it was merely a way for households to save on expenses.

Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said in parliament on Thursday that the stoves were simply put forward as one of many options for how families can save on their energy bills.

The ministry said it understands that many families in the provinces still use clay stoves that run using charcoal.

It decided to propose the use of the Tao Maha Setthee as they are more energy-efficient and generate strong heat for a longer duration than conventional clay stoves.

Mr Supattanapong said the ministry keeps promoting clay stoves to help families save on energy expenses. "It's about repeating the [energy-saving] campaign we've already launched," he said.

The minister insisted the Tao Maha Setthee were never meant to completely replace gas stoves.

The project has been resisted by shops and ridiculed on social media for failing to reduce energy bills, mainly because the price of charcoal has also gone up. Some slammed it as a "primitive" attempt at solving a 21st century problem.

Mr Supattanapong was responding to a fresh motion filed by Krumanit Sangphum, a Pheu Thai Party MP for Udon Thani.

The MP asked what measures the government has in store to lower runaway fuel prices.

He said the fuel price hike has inflated the prices of food and other commodities.

The energy minister said the government has subsidised the diesel price by 11 baht a litre and reduced the diesel excise tax by another five baht.

However, he said it could not tap into the Energy Conservation Fund, which has been an important financial mechanism for supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy development, since the money in the fund is part of the national budget.


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