Underground power plans delayed by funds hurdle

PHUKET: The Phuket Provincial Electricity Authority (PPEA) will start to install underground power cables in Phuket City and Patong … when the money can be found for the project.

PPEA Manager Amorn Sang-hearn told the Gazette today that the PPEA had earmarked Thalang Rd in Phuket City and Thaweewong Rd in Patong as the first places where power cables would be taken down and relaid underground.

This would make these areas more attractive, as well as improving the power management system. One result should be fewer electrical problems, as the cables would not be affected by phenomena such as lightning, said K. Amorn.

But, he said, putting cables underground costs about 10 times as much as it does to put them above-ground, and the budgets have yet to be approved.

The budget for Thaweewong Rd is 264 million baht; the PPEA would provide 40 million baht of this, he explained, but Patong Municipality would have to petition the government for the remaining 224 million baht.

K. Amorn said the PPEA has already submitted the construction plan for Thalang Rd to Phuket City Municipality and is working with Patong Municipality on the plan for Thaweewong Rd.

He said, “Thaweewong Rd will take more funding because there are high voltage power lines along the road, and transformers for those will also have to be installed underground.”

The entire beachfront in Patong – a distance of about three kilometers – would be cleared of overhead cables.

Phuket City Municipality was giving special consideration to dealing with the historic buildings on Thalang Road, said K. Amorn; there are many old buildings along the 300-meter stretch of road, and the construction might affect these. The likely solution will be to run the cables under road rather than under the sidewalk.

The city authorities will contribute three million baht of public works funding for the project, while six million baht would come from the PPEA.

K. Amorn said he could not say when the power cable project would be completed because it depended on when the money was allocated.

“If the budgets are approved, the operation to place all power cables underground should not take longer than six months for Thaweewong Rd and a few months for Thalang Rd,” he said.

Phuket News
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