Prayut refuses to take responsibility for high electricity bills
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha lashed out at coalition partners on Wednesday, saying he is not the only one to be blamed for the high electricity bills in March and April.
Prayut, who is also PM candidate for the United Thai Nation Party, said it was very unfair that some coalition partners are blaming him alone for the expensive electricity bills.
After all, he said, the partners too have ministers in the Cabinet and that all Cabinet resolutions were voted upon. He also said that he is only directly responsible for the Defence Ministry and can only give advice to other members of the Cabinet.
Though Prayut did not name any names, he was clearly referring to some coalition partners who have asked why the PM has stayed aloof instead of making decisions to reduce the electricity tariff.
“You should have said what you could do better as the next government,” Prayut said.
“Don’t attack one other because we are all in the same coalition. We have been in the same government for four years, after all.”
Coalition partners Democrat and Palang Pracharath (PPRP) parties have said in their election campaigns that the current electricity fees are too high.
PPRP has promised that if it retains ruling power, it will reduce the rate of electricity to 2.50 baht per unit for households and 2.70 baht per unit for industrial use. Electricity currently costs 4.77 baht per unit.
The Democrat Party, meanwhile, blamed the so-called float time or FT surcharge as the main reason for high electricity bills.
The party promised to abolish the use of FT surcharge that would result in a 1 to 1.5 baht reduction per unit.
The Democrat Party explained that under the FT system, users are charged according to an estimated power usage four months in advance, adding that only a few countries still use this system.
After the weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Prayut announced that his government plans to allocate more than 11 billion baht to provide electricity subsidies to low-income earners for another four months from May.
He said the government will also give a 150 baht reduction before VAT to households using no more than 500 units of electricity.