Wire-burying project faces delay due to dispute over line-rental fees

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If the underground electricity wiring project is successful, North Pattaya Road will be the second road in Pattaya having no electric posts. The first being Pattaya Beach Road.
If the underground electricity wiring project is successful, North Pattaya Road will be the second road in Pattaya having no electric posts. The first being Pattaya Beach Road.

Business owners are balking at proposed fees to move telephone, cable-television and internet wires underground in Pattaya, threatening on-time completion of the North Road project.

City Councilman Adm. Srivisut Rodarun chaired an Oct. 18 meeting of the Public Works and Utilities Committee attended by representatives of the Provincial Electricity Authority, CAT Telecom and the Telecommunications Association of Thailand.

CAT was assigned by the PEA to handle the relocation of communication cables underground nationwide as well as setting rental rates for the water-protected pipes in which they go.

The utility set a charge of 120 baht a month for homes connected to underground wires and 6,000 baht a month for businesses, which has businesses up in arms.

Business owners – particularly cable-TV operators – called the fees excessive and added that they’d prefer not to put wires underground, as they are more difficult and costly to repair or replace.

The dispute is threatening a delay in completing the PEA’s North Road project, which was supposed to conclude by year-end.

Srivisut reminded the business owners that the public’s interest comes first and that the point of the wire-burying was in response to public complaints about jumbles of wires that often catch fire. It also beautifies the city.

The admiral added that he wanted to see the dispute settled quickly and amicably, putting the public’s interest first.

CAT said it would meet again with business operators at its Pattaya office on Nov. 8.