Court rejects injunction on government’s energy price hike

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BANGKOK, Jan 17 – Thailand’s Administrative Court on Monday night rejected a request from the civil sector asking the court to issue an injunction against the Oct 4 cabinet resolution to raise the price of Natural Gas for Vehicles (NGV) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), citing insufficient evidence to show that the cabinet action is unlawful.

The injunction was earlier sought by the Foundation for Consumers and three citizens who presented themselves as gas consumers against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the cabinet, Energy Minister Pichai Naripthaphan, Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) and PTT Public Company Limited.

The complaint urged the court to consider the injunction until the court has its verdict on the cabinet resolution made on Oct 4, 2011 that the NGV price would rise, from Jan 16, by 50 satang/kg monthly until the end of 2012 when it would stay at Bt14.50/kg from the present Bt8.50/kg, a 70 per cent hike.

The liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) price would also increase by 41 satang/litre every month to Bt16.06/litre from the current Bt11.14/litre.

The court however rejected the request saying there is insufficient evidence to prove that the resolutions made by the cabinet and the EPPO were unlawful and if the court issues an injunction, the action will affect state operations on energy price policy and obstruct public service as well as country’s administration.

Before the court consideration, taxi and truck operators last week rallied against the cabinet decision, blocking roads outside Government House and PTT headquarters in Bangkok, calling for the revocation of the energy rise plan.

After negotiations, the Land Transport Federation of Thailand (LTFT) and the government agreed to set up a joint working group to determine the NGV cost and appropriate pricing but in the meantime the NGV price would rise in accord with the cabinet resolution in the first four-month period.