By WATCHARAPONG THONGRUNG
The subcommittee overseeing the price of electricity yesterday agreed on the rise in the fuel tariff (Ft), which is below the 45-satang-per-unit proposal, the source said.
Chaired by commissioner Noppadon Mantajit, the subcommittee was informed that more natural gas will be required to generate power during the period than in the May-August round. The generating cost will thus rise, as the gas price has gone up from Bt301 per million British thermal units to Bt317. Meanwhile, coal prices have also risen from Bt2,900 per tonne to Bt3,200 in the corresponding periods.
The ERC will convene on Thursday to finalise the increase, which may be lower than the proposed rate. The commission may spread out the increases throughout 2013 to lessen negative impacts on users. Still, the power rates must be increased to help reduce the subsidy by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, the source said.
“If energy prices decline in 2013, such gradual increases will have a minimal impact. But vice versa, if energy prices continue rising, the impact will be immense. In the May-August round, Egat bore a subsidy of 22.22 satang per unit, or a total of Bt14 billion,” the source said.
Egat will retrieve the money when power rates are raised in subsequent periods.
“Egat has not yet been compensated for the Bt14-billion subsidy,” said Egat governor Sutat Patmasiriwat. "It's difficult for us to shoulder an extra burden, as this may affect our plan to invest Bt60 billion in 2013. Whatever, Egat should be compensated for the existing burden.
“Egat can borrow more with its good credit rating, but we should not be forced to borrow to subsidise power rates.”