Govt to keep fuel, electric prices down as NY gift
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Govt to keep fuel, electric prices down as NY gift

The cabinet yesterday gave the green light to an Energy Ministry proposal to keep the diesel price under 30 baht per litre and cap the power tariff at 3.99 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit) for households that use no more than 300 units per month.

Speaking after the weekly cabinet meeting, Energy Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga said that as a New Year's gift, the government agreed to maintain the diesel price at under 30 baht per litre and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and cooking gas at 423 baht per 15kg for three months. As for electricity, the government approved the proposal to cap the power tariff at 3.99 baht per unit for those who use no more than 300 units from January to April, which would benefit about 17 million households, he said.

Mr Pirapan said the ministry would do its best to keep the electricity price for households at no more than 4.20 baht per unit, and the figure would be available after Jan 1, when global energy prices were expected to drop. Earlier, the Energy Regulatory Commission approved increasing the power tariff, applicable between January and April 2024, by 17.3% to 4.68 baht a unit, up from 3.99 baht a unit.

According to the commission, it needed to increase the fuel tariff, or Ft, a key component of the power tariff, by 34% to 0.89 baht a unit, up from 0.66 baht a unit, to pay the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, which made huge losses after it subsidised electricity bills between September 2021 and May 2023.

He said the ministry had come up with the figure but decided against proposing it to the cabinet pending the global price situation in the new year.

Thanks to these measures, the electricity price during January-April will not exceed 4.20 baht per unit and the "vulnerable group" which uses no more than 300 units per month will pay the current rate of 3.99 baht per unit.

As for diesel and petrol, the retail price of diesel will be kept below 30 baht per litre for another three months while the reduction in the price of petrol will continue until Jan 31, he said.

"The price reductions to help with the cost of living are New Year gifts from the Energy Ministry, and they are for the short-term. The ministry is working on long-term goals by overhauling energy price-related regulations to ensure people get the most benefits," he said.

He said price structures were complex partly due to different costs of fuel sources used in power generation and long-term power purchase contracts.

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