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Egat’s push to boost power bills unwarranted, says consumer council

Egat’s push to boost power bills unwarranted, says consumer council

MONDAY, March 21, 2022

The Thailand Consumer Council called on the Energy Ministry on Monday to put the brakes on the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat)’s plan to implement a higher “float time or FT” rate as it will “unnecessarily” push up household electricity bills.

The Energy Regulatory Commission recently approved Egat’s proposal to increase the FT rate from 0.0139 baht to 0.2477 to calculate power bills from May to August. Egat’s reasoning for this is the surge in energy prices due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

The council, however, said this FT increase would push the base power rate from 3.76 baht to 4 baht per unit and add more burden on the public.

The council also blamed Egat’s mismanagement for this push to increase the rate. It pointed out that because of mismanagement, Egat produces 46,136.4 megawatts of energy per year, even though Thailand’s yearly requirement is just 30,000MW based on average power consumption from 2019 to 2021.

Hence, it said, Egat has an excess of 10,000MW every year, which is more than 50 per cent of the country’s power reserves when actually it should have no more than 15 per cent.

Due to this huge amount of excess power, Egat has to pay 49 billion baht a year in standby fees to large private power generators, it said.

The group also asked why the burden of Egat’s policy of buying electricity from small power plants should become a burden on consumers. Egat apparently purchases 18.014 billion units of power every year from small power plants at 4 baht per unit.

The group alleged that it is these unnecessary expenses that have led to a higher FT rate.

Egat’s push to boost power bills unwarranted, says consumer council Separately, the consumer council said the government should provide soft loans so people can install their own solar power systems to save on utility bills. It also said that Egat should extend the period for buying back power from households to 20 or 25 years from 10 years.

As for Egat’s plans to buy power from large private operators set to build power plants both inside and outside Thailand, the group said the Energy Ministry should put a halt to it.

As for the rate paid to private power generators, the group said Egat should be told to restructure its natural gas cost calculation system so the price can be brought down.