Thailand’s heatwave nears end, rainy season looms

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Thailand’s hot season approaches its conclusion as the rainy season is set to begin in mid-May, according to the country’s Meteorological Department. The hot season peaked on April 15, when the temperature reached a record high of 44.6°C in Tak.

Deputy director-general Thanasit Iam-ananchai has stated that throughout the weekend, daily heat indices or apparent temperatures are anticipated to surge to precarious levels in specific regions such as Bang Na district in Bangkok, Sattahip district in Chon Buri, and Phuket. Thanasit attributes this to the proximity to the sea and increased humidity levels in these coastal areas.

The heat index, which is a measure of how the temperature feels to the human body when relative humidity is combined with air temperature, can pose a serious health risk if it surpasses 40°C. Thanasit cautions that people may experience fainting or heat stroke under these conditions.

On April 28-29, the upper regions of Thailand are expected to be engulfed by hot-to-very-hot weather, as well as haze throughout the daytime. Southerly and southeasterly winds are anticipated to impact the lower Northeast, lower central, and eastern regions, accompanied by isolated thundershowers and gusty winds in the upper country.

For Bangkok and its neighbouring provinces, hot weather with haze during the daytime is predicted, with temperatures expected to remain high throughout the week. Specifically, on April 30 and May 1, temperatures could range between 32-38°C.

In related news, Isares Rattanadilok na Phuket, vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, announced that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is set to examine fuel tariff (Ft) rate adjustments as proposed by a subcommittee responsible for calculating the key component of the power tariff. If authorised by the ERC, the new rate will decrease from 4.77 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit) to 4.70 baht per unit, effective from May 1 until at least August 31.

The subcommittee’s approval of the new rate was influenced by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand’s (Egat) proposal for a 28-month moratorium on debt repayments. However, Isares expressed concerns that the proposed tariff reduction does not accurately reflect current fuel costs.

He urges the ERC to consider incorporating the current price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports in the power tariff calculation instead of using the January rate. This would result in a 9% decrease in the power tariff rate from 4.77 baht per unit to 4.34 baht. Taking Egat’s proposed debt moratorium into account, the rate could further decline by 7 satang to 4.27 baht.

The Ft is adjusted every four months based on fuel costs as determined by a subcommittee meeting. Additionally, the power tariff is influenced by debts owed to Egat, which incurred a loss of 150 billion baht after subsidising electricity prices from September 2021 to December last year.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.