Measures issued to tackle power blackout

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BANGKOK, May 28 – A new contingency plan for power blackouts demands a snap decision within seven seconds to nip the problem in the bud, according to preliminary instructions by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

The ERC yesterday set up an ad hoc committee to work on providing a clear line of command, measures to tackle blackout and the “centre of authority” for making an immediate decision.

The resolution came in the wake of last Tuesday’s blanket power outage in Thailand’s 14 southern provinces after a high-power transmission line which supplied electricity from the central region was struck by lightning.

The ERC yesterday met decision makers of three power agencies – the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), the Metropolitan Electricity Authority and the Provincial Electricity Authority.

ERC chairman Direk Lavansiri said the line of command including a decision within seven seconds was part of the measures to ensure power stability and public’s confidence in the nation’s electrical power system.

Last Tuesday’s power blackout spread to 14 provinces due to unclear lines of command and decision-making procedures.

Pallapa Ruangrong, an ERC member, said the outage was possibly caused by natural phenomenon beyond human control.

If it is EGAT’s fault, the ERC will demand compensation from the agency, she said.

Payungsak Chartsuthipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said the blackout has shaken investors’ confidence and caused damage to their businesses.

The FTI will wrap up the total damages and called on the Energy Ministry to ensure sufficient power reserves nationwide, he said.

The Federation of Southern Industries initially estimated the damages in 14 provinces at Bt300 million, he said.

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