CAT, TOT seek rate hikes to pay for Pattaya wire-burying project

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Utility companies, who for years have been ignoring old wiring when replaced by new, causing spaghetti-type messes all over town, now want to raise rates on customers to cover their costs to bury their cables underground in Pattaya. (File photo/Pattaya Mail)
Utility companies, who for years have been ignoring old wiring when replaced by new, causing spaghetti-type messes all over town, now want to raise rates on customers to cover their costs to bury their cables underground in Pattaya. (File photo/Pattaya Mail)

PATTAYA Internet providers are threatening to raise rates on customers to cover their costs to bury their cables underground in Pattaya.

Deputy Mayor Apichart Virapal said June 8 that CAT Telecom and TOT PLC both are complaining about the costs to rewire connections to customers homes and businesses stemming from the Provincial Electricity Authority’s nationwide project to move overhead power and utility lines underground.

In Pattaya, wires already have been buried along Central Road and currently are being moved on North Road. Three other phases are planned for Pattaya, leading to nearly 47 kilometers of wires to be submerged.

TOT and CAT, both public enterprises partially funded by the government, want to pass the costs of moving their wires on to customers, a move Apichart said Pattaya opposes.

At a June 8 meeting with the PEA and utilities, Adm. Srivisut Rodarun, the city council’s vice chairman, said negotiations are underway to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on the issue.

A representative from the National Broadcast and Telecommunications Commission attending the meeting noted that no rates have been raised yet, although the panel, which regulates TOT, CAT and other communications providers, is open to hearing their complaints.

Niruth Charoenchob, manager of the Pattaya office for the PEA, which is running four other wire-burying projects nationwide, said all utility poles will be removed in North Pattaya by the end of the year.