Factories agree to suspend production to prevent power outage April 5

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BANGKOK, Feb 21 – Industrial factories have agreed to suspend production on April 5 when Myanmar’s gas supply stoppage is set to start in order to avoid power outages in Thailand .

The temporary suspension of gas supplies for maintenance work on the Yadana gas field will leave Thailand with reserve electricity of only two per cent–750 megawatts. However, cooperation from the industrial sector will help increase electricity in reserve to reduce risks of an outage on April 5, said Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisarn.

The agreement came after the talks between the energy minister and Payungsak Chartsutthipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The FTI will negotiate with 42 industrial groups, comprising more than 8,000 plants, to see which factories could suspend their production. Initially, automotive, petrochemical, steel, plastics and paper industries are ready to halt production to cut electricity use on April 5.

The suspension will neither impact domestic and overseas orders nor workers who will still have a long holiday during the Songkran Festival period during April 12-16.

To offset its production after the production suspension on April 5, several factories will operate on compensatory holidays when electricity use are likely to drop on April 7, a part of compensatory holidays of the Chakri Memorial Day or on April 11 before the long Thai New Year holiday.

FTI Auto Industry Club head Supparat Sirisuwannangkul said the automakers and suppliers will meet Friday to discuss readiness of 1,700 auto and auto parts plants to halt production on April 5.

Advanced and clear notification from the government help them in their production plan to avert any effect, he said.

The energy minister said electricity utilisation in the industrial sector accounts for the country’s highest electricity use ratio or 40 per cent. The cooperation will help cut risk of power outage.