Energy Ministry asks Phuket to save power ‘just in case’

PHUKET: Energy Ministry officials announced yesterday they will launch a campaign calling on all Phuket residents to minimize the electricity each household uses as a precaution against power outages during a month-long upgrade to a major gas field supply line in the Gulf of Thailand.

Residents will be asked to reduce their power consumption between 6 and 10pm each night from June 13 to July 10, Samerjai Suksumet, the director of Energy Policy and Planning, told a seminar at Phuket Rajabhat University yesterday afternoon.

“These are the peak hours for power use on the island,” he said.

Mr Samerjai explained that the supply of natural gas from field A-18 in the Joint Development Area (JDA) between Thailand and Malaysia in the Gulf of Thailand will be offline for 28 days, starting from June 13, for an upgrade (story here).

“Southern Thailand usually produces 2,300MW per day, but uses about 2,400MW per day,” Mr Samerjai said.

To make up the shortfall, power plants in Bangkok supply 700MW per day to ensure there is enough electricity for all of Southern Thailand, he explained.

However, during the upgrade, the Chana Power Plant in Songkhla province, which contributes about 710MW per day to the grid serving Southern Thailand, will be offline.

“During this period, power plants in Bangkok will supply an additional 250MW per day, making the total power supply from them 950MW per day while the upgrade is carried out,” Mr Samerjai said.

Losing the Chana input of 710MW while ramping up the supply from Bangkok will result in a small surplus of electricity supply of about 140MW per day.

“This is why we will still need to be conservative in our power consumption while the upgrade is underway,” said Mr Samerjai.

Mr Samerjai assured there will not be another major blackout, such as the huge outage that plunged all of Southern Thailand into darkness last year (story here).

“As Phuket is a tourism province, we cannot allow a blackout to happen here,” he said.

“We will have ordered staff at the power plants to take all preventative steps necessary to ensure there are no blackouts during the upgrade…

“But if a blackout does happen, we will make sure essential facilities such as hospitals, government offices and police stations are not affected.”

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

Phuket News
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