PHUKET: By December next year, Phuket will have a much more sophisticated and reliable electricity supply, according to experts from the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) and the European Union (EU), which is providing some of the funds for upgrading the system. The upgrade includes the construction of two new substations in addition to the existing two and the laying of high capacity cables from the substations to the island’s various communities. The EU funding will go toward installing a sophisticated computer management system which will show technicians where in the power grid problems arise, and allow them to reroute power supply to solve the problems. The computerization project will cost around 380 million baht, of which 114 million is being funded by the EU, the remainder coming from the PEA. At a press conference on Friday, Pracherd Sookkaew, Deputy Chief of the PEA, explained that the computer system will allow problems in the grid to be fixed much faster than at present. “If there is a blackout somewhere, then the system will automatically receive a signal, and the technician will be able to put the power back on in about three minutes instead of the half-hour or more it takes at present.” The EU, he explained, will send experts to Phuket to research what is required for the system, and to draw up tender specifications for the supply of equipment from Europe. Derek Fee, Desk Officer from the European Commission (EC) headquarters in Brussels, explained, “Our projects support the improvement of energy supply to meet demand, not only in Asia but all over the world.” Robert Baldwin, First Secretary with the EU Delegation in Bangkok, said the project was a good example of economic cooperation. “Not only is the project of benefit to Phuket, but it’s also a very good showcase for European technology. There is a mutual benefit to both sides.”
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