Bangkok’s 10-year plan to send wiring underground

Photo courtesy of Somchai Poomlard, Bangkok Post

A recent announcement from the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) suggests dramatic changes are underway for Thailand’s capital city. The notable shift to laying 1,454 kilometres of electrical wires underground is reportedly expected to take place over the coming decade, in an ambitious effort to streamline electricity provision to the three provinces in the Greater Bangkok area: Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan.

Unveiling these plans right before the Authority’s 65th anniversary, MEA Governor Wilas Chaloeysat outlined the project’s goals. These include not only improving the convenience of electricity distribution but also enhancing the efficiency of the system. This approach is expected to implement smart technology to aid in managing the infrastructure, part of the overarching concept of smart metro grids and smart metres.

Speaking about the smart metro grid project, he mentioned that the MEA had conducted a survey of primary roads in the capital and its surrounding areas. The survey concluded that over 1,000 kilometres of MEA cable wires needed to be placed underground. The ambitious project is slated to be completed within a decade. The main focus areas targeted in this endeavour are along Skytrain and metro train routes.

Wilas said so far key business zones and significant roads, such as in the Sathon district, have had their wiring moved underground.

“As of now, we’ve already relocated 91 kilometres of electrical wires beneath the city surface. We plan to extend the project to cover a further 236.1 kilometres by 2027, with the total length of the wiring to be moved underground coming to around 1,454 kilometres.”

The plan will also increase the number of smart metres from 33,265 to a staggering 441,400 sets by the year 2027. This smart metre system will allow MEA staff to detect and rectify system issues promptly, helping to address problems even before customer complaints arise, Wilas said.

“We are making big changes for people living in the city to make life more convenient. We have followed our principle of ‘Go Smart, Go Digital and Go Green’ for a sustainable future.”

Under the broader perspective of environmental sustainability, the MEA has also formulated a plan which aligns with the government’s policy to promote electric vehicles (EVs) under an EV ecosystem, reported Bangkok Post.

With projections predicting 6.6 million electric cars in Thailand by 2037, the MEA has been proactive in setting up EV charging stations, creating smart charging systems for households and developing transformer load surveillance to curb electricity overloads.

Given the trend, MEA anticipates a 13% annual increase in electricity usage, considering the escalating demand and skyrocketing number of EV cars. For this year, the Authority’s prediction is that the total electricity consumed will reach 51.388 billion units, a minor increase of 0.84% compared to the previous year.

Bangkok News

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.

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