Rise in power usage may affect south Thailand

While there should be no problems about the overall sufficiency of electricity supply due to the anticipated huge household consumption by television viewers during the Fifa World Cup, a halt in delivery of natural gas to a power plant in the South for 28-day maintenance and repair works could affect southern users.

Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) governor Sunchai Khamnunsaret said yesterday that great caution over electricity usage in the South was being encouraged, as the consumption rate in the region is relatively high and power supply may be affected as the maintenance and repair works are undertaken on a mid-sea Thai-Malaysian gas-production installation.

The installation distributes electricity to the Southern region, he said.

These works mean electricity production at the inland Chana power plant operated by Egat has had to be temporarily halted.

Electricity supply for television viewing will peak between 11pm and 7am on days when World Cup football matches are being played, through July 13.

These are normally low-consumption periods, he added.

Citing historical Egat data, Sunchai said there was generally an additional 300 megawatts of power consumption during major football tournaments, while the total output for plants based in the South during the maintenance period - from yesterday until July 10 - has been reduced to 2,306MW, from the regular level of 2,400MW.

The governor called on households to lower their electricity usage between 6.30pm and 10.30pm to ensure electricity security before the matches begin.

Provincial Electricity Authority deputy governor Suthon Boonprasong said Egat would hold daily meetings of all three power plants feeding electricity to the South, and that night staff had been put on standby to cope with any blackout or drop in power supply.

Niphon Arunsri, director of Ratcha Prapha Dam hydropower plant in Surat Thani, said output would be increased to accommodate the extra use of electricity due to television viewing through July 10.

The extra volume of water released for additional electricity production will not result in flooding for people living south of the dam, he insisted.