Expert calls for new approach by government to regulate electricity tariff structure
The government should improve the electricity tariff structure and deal with unfair concessions to reduce electricity price in the long term, a former director of the Prime Minister Office's said on Sunday.
Anusorn Tamajai, the former director of the public policy development office, said the government's move to let the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) bear the burden can only be a short-term solution.
"The government's failure in dealing with the rising electricity price could impose a financial burden on the economy, leading to higher public debt in the long term," he warned.
Anusorn said rising electricity price impacted businesses that consume a lot of electricity, adding that consumers too were suffering from rising product prices.
"Rising electricity price could affect Thailand's economic growth and competitiveness," he said, adding that it could affect the plan to become an electric vehicle manufacturing hub and deal with climate change.
He expects the Energy Regulatory Commission to reduce electricity price from May to August this year from 4.77 baht per unit to 4.70 baht to mitigate burden among people.
However, he claimed that the price of electricity in Thailand was still high compared to other Asean countries, such as Indonesia (3.22 baht per unit), Vietnam (2.74 baht), Malaysia (1.78 baht), Laos (1.19 baht) and Myanmar (1 baht).
Anusorn said the government should improve the electricity tariff structure and deal with unfair concession to reduce electricity price to between 2.5 baht and 3.5 baht per unit.
"The electricity price should not be more than 3.5 baht to 4 baht per unit," he said.
He advised the government to apply technology to deal with unfairness in electricity generation, such as virtual distributed power plant.
The government should revise the Power Development Plan 2018 to meet with changes in the situation and technology, he added.
"Also, the government should reconsider concessions, especially from large private companies," he said.
He also suggested that the government reduce the electricity reserve from 50-60% to 20-30% to reduce fuel tariff (Ft). He added that Ft should be adjusted academically, not based on capitalists or politicians' demands.
"The government should generate more renewable energy, through sources such as solar, wind, and biomass," he said, adding that the proportion of renewable energy should be more than 50% compared to coal and fossil fuel.
He advised the government to study the possibility of setting the same electricity rate nationwide, promote the establishment of small power plants in communities and allow Egat to produce more electricity if it was cheaper than private companies.
The government can set up a fund to maintain stability of electricity price similar to the fuel fund, he added.