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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Regional blackout prompts call for more power stations

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Regional blackout prompts call for more power stations | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

South needs more power plants: Egat
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: More power plants are needed in the South to prevent blackouts like the one that left all of Southern Thailand in the dark last night, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) chief said today.

Egat Governor Sutat Patmasiriwat said the existing three plants in the South were only able to supply 1,600 megawatts of power, while the region consumes about 2,200MW.

Hence, he said, Egat had no choice but to go ahead with the coal-fired plant in Krabi and plan for more.

Last night, 14 provinces in the South were plunged into darkness for up to four hours.

Sutat said the blackout was an accident and had not been staged to justify the Krabi project.

The three existing plants – the Khanom power plant in Nakhon Si Thammarat, the Chana power plant in Songkhla and a hydro-power plant in Surat Thani – are only able to generate 1,600MW. The remaining 600 needed for the region is supplied by the central power system.

The governor explained that the consumption of electricity in the South – where several tourist destinations are located, including Phuket – had been rising at the rate of 6 per cent a year.

In addition to the coal-fired plant in Krabi, Egat building the Chana 2 plant in Songkhla, which should be ready to supply 800MW by next year.

He said the Khanom plant, which is capable of generating 824MW, will be decommissioned in 2016 and that the concessionaire, Egco Group, has been tasked with building a replacement that is capable of generating 900MW.

The Krabi plant, which is currently the subject of public hearings, will produce 800MW and be ready to supply electricity in 2019.

He added that despite protests against the Krabi plant (story here), Egat had no choice but to opt for this coal-powered project because the only other alternative would be nuclear.

Sutat went on to explain that there was only enough natural gas to feed the Khanom and Chana power plants and that it would not be financially feasible to build wind, solar or bio-mass gas-powered plants. He added that Malaysia could only supply 300MW of power and it would cost as much as building a diesel-fueled plant.

“Egat has no choice but to go ahead with the Krabi plant as scheduled,” Sutat reiterated.
Tanit Sorat, vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said the blackout caused economic damage estimated at more than 10 billion baht.

Pongsak Assakul, senior chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the outages affected the confidence of foreign investors because tourism is the key industry in the South.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Today marks the ‘official’ end of tourist visa amnesty

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Today marks the ‘official’ end of tourist visa amnesty | The Thaiger

“Technically you will still be able to report to immigration and sort out your visa on Monday.”

And that, as they say, is that – the end of the twice-extended visa amnesty. Today is the official end of the Thai government’s visa amnesty for those staying in the country on tourist visas. The amnesty was originally given 6 months ago after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of borders and suspended international flights. Despite calls for the government to extend the amnesty yet again from the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the government has not made any announcements that would allow those on tourist visas to stay in the country legally after today’s end date.

For those tourists still stranded in Thailand, they would have needed to provide a letter from their respective embassies that would provide proof that they are unable to travel out of the country by today’s date. Such reasons include medical, flight availability or the Covid situation remaining poor in their home countries. Those who have not provided a letter or have not sorted their visas by today’s date will reportedly face overstay fines of 500 baht per day with a maximum of 20,000 baht in total fines. Other repercussions include being arrested, imprisoned, deported and/or blacklisted from entering Thailand for certain periods that coincide with the amount of time overstayed.

The Royal Thai Immigration has warned numerous times of the approaching end date and what could happen to those who fail to fix their visas properly, however, some immigration centres are open today and/or extending the end date to Monday as the last chance to sort out visas. Such centres are located in Chiang Mai and other provinces, giving foreigners an extra day without receiving an overstay fine.

Today’s end date has some in disagreement over Thailand’s handling of the situation, with critics saying the hard line stance is set to turn off future tourists from the country as well as taking away the only income that some businesses are receiving during the battered economy. Such tourists who are staying for a long time need accommodations that undoubtedly help such businesses stay afloat when international tourists are unable to enter the kingdom.

Technically you will still be able to report to immigration and sort out your visa on Monday as today was meant to be a closed day, although many Immigration offices were open. At least the Chiang Mai Immigraiton office announced yesterday that it would tend to visa extensions and business on Monday, without penalty.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Government to stir economy with 100 billion baht stimulus starting in October

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Government to stir economy with 100 billion baht stimulus starting in October | The Thaiger

The Thai Government is expected to stimulate the economy with 100 billion baht boost starting in October until the end of the year. The injection will reportedly come from both the people’s and the government’s spending under three stimulus measures according to the Deputy PM Supattanapong Punmeechaow.

The first measure will reportedly give 14 million welfare cardholders an extra 500 baht discount over the next 3 months on their shopping with the budget for this measure totalling 21 billion baht. The second measure, dubbed “Kon La Khreung” or Let’s Go Halves, will give 10 million people up to 100 baht discounts daily on beverages and household essentials with the subsidy being capped at 3,000 baht per person. The scheme will not, however, include such things as alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets.

The third measure is aimed at wealthier Thais as tax incentives and will be offered in an effort to encourage them to spend more as consumers. The Cabinet has also approved a measure to pay 260,000 new graduates half of their salary to help the private sector. That budget is reportedly totaling 19.5 billion baht.

Supattanapong also predicts the economy will improve next year but warns it could take 2 years before the nation’s economic growth returns to the pre-Covid level. He says the country’s current budget is sufficient to boost the economy unless there is a second wave of Covid.

“But in the event that there is a second wave, the government is prepared to borrow more as its national debt is quite low compared to other countries. However the government is being cautious so it can remain financially healthy in the post-Covid era.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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“Bad Student” movement by high-schoolers continues fight against authorities

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“Bad Student” movement by high-schoolers continues fight against authorities | The Thaiger

A movement, dubbed by some of Thailand’s high-schoolers as ‘Bad Student’, is advancing the fight against education authorities as students are trying to break up the country’s strict, or as they claim, archaic, education system. The movement’s name takes after a university student activitst’s book about his experiences in a government high school. The recent rebellion of students coincides with the recent massive Thammasat University anti-government protests in Bangkok, which are demanding reform of the government, constitution and revered Monarchy. 17 year old Peka Loetparisanyu tells Reuters that their rights are being violated.

“There’s a viral saying that ‘our first dictatorship is school’.”

Some of the students are reportedly wearing white ribbons, cutting their hair in public and showing the now popular protest symbol of the 3-finger salute, reminiscent of the Hunger Games movie franchise, during the morning national anthem which is a requirement at all government schools.

Supporters of the pro-democracy movement say Thailand’s education system is more about compliance rather than education as its rigid rules require students to dress in uniforms, have a certain length of hair and conform to specific hairstyles. The white ribbons being adorned by some of the high-schoolers represent “purity of the students” whilst the 3-fingered salute is being used as a call for democracy.

But their seemingly rebellious actions have not gone completely unnoticed by officials as the Thai Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan earlier this year softened hair length and style rules for government schools.

“I feel that by listening to them, I’m giving them an opportunity to voice their concern safely.”

Such rebellious acts by students have led to parents being outraged over teachers reprimanding students and occasionally humiliating them publicly. Just this year, a student was given an ‘ugly haircut’by a teacher in front of her peers after she showed up to school with a hairstyle that did not precisely meet the requirements.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

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