Thailand energy commission considering cutting electricity charges to help businesses

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak will try to reduce the cost of electricity to help businesses.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak will try to reduce the cost of electricity to help businesses.

As a measure to help hasten business sector recovery, the Energy Regulatory Commission earlier initiated a cut to electricity charges for large and medium-sized enterprises for three months. However, the COVID-19 outbreak situation has not improved and the Energy Regulatory Commission will now consider extending the measure until the end of 2020 to lessen the impact on entrepreneurs.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak called a meeting to discuss ways to reduce electricity charges for entrepreneurs in the private sector who are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The private sector has called on the government to waive minimum charges which would allow entrepreneurs to pay electricity bills according to the actual use, effectively reducing costs until December 2020, as the existing electricity charge reduction is scheduled to be terminated in June.

Currently, businesses have reduced production capacity considerably, resulting in only 20 percent of actual electricity usage but the contracting system forces them to pay for up to 70 percent. It is estimated that the business sector will not be able to recover by the middle of this year so the private sector has asked the Ministry of Energy to submit the proposal to the Energy Regulatory Commission.

The measure to waive minimum charges in the business sector will cover 23,000 medium-sized enterprises or power consumers in Category 3 in Bangkok and 80,000 in the provinces, 2,400 large-sized enterprises or power consumers in Category 4 in Bangkok and 7,000 in the provinces, Category 5 power consumers who operate particular businesses such as hotels, dormitories and apartments, Category 6 power consumers who operate non-profit organizations and Category 7 power consumers who operate a water pumping business for farming, but excludes small operators because they have already received assistance from the electrical guarantee deposit refund and reduction of electricity charges in the household sector. (NNT)