PHUKET TOWN: Following Tuesday’s island-wide blackout, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has said that there will be one more power outage when the last piece of work on a new, higher-capacity cable is completed. But neither Banlue Teerametawit, EGAT’s assistant governor for transmission construction, nor Rangsan Ammarin, an engineer with the authority, could say exactly when the final planned blackout will occur, or how long it will last. The final piece in the power puzzle, K. Rangsan explained, is a short stretch of cable just across the Sarasin Bridge, in Phang Nga, that must be replaced. EGAT is in negotiations with a landowner who is currently refusing to allow work to be done on his land, but hopes to have the work complete by September or October. Once that last piece of cable has been replaced, said K. Banlue, island-wide blackouts should be a thing of the past. “Up to now, there was only a 115-kilovolt line coming into the province,” he explained. “Any accident would black out the whole province. “EGAT has replaced [most of] that line with a new 230-kilovolt cable. This cable has a capacity of about 960 megawatts. Right now, Phuket only needs 120 megawatts,” he said. The authority has so far spent 700 million baht on new cable and equipment, according to K. Banlue. Phuket is the third-highest user of power in southern Thailand, after Nakhon Sri Thammarat and Songkhla.
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