InfoQuest, (April 23, 2020) -- Mr. Somkid Jatusripitak, deputy prime minister of Thailand, chaired a meeting on April 23 to discuss measures to help private enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce electricity costs. Energy Minister Sonthirat Sonthisajirawong, representatives of the Federation of Thai industries (FTI), the Thai chamber of Commerce, and the Federation Thai SME, as well as members from relevant government departments including the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) , three electricity departments, the Department of Industrial Promotion and the Department of Business Development attended the meeting.
Mr. Sonthirat revealed after the meeting that private enterprises were invited to the meeting, with an aim to ease the burden of electricity bills on them. The Ministry of Energy has been making efforts to take relief measures. After providing electricity subsidies to Thai households, it discussed the key assistance measures for private enterprises at the meeting, namely the exemption of minimum charge stipulated in the electricity price structure. The meeting mainly covered the following aspects.
In terms of waiving the minimum charge, the ERC had taken this into account in advance and developed corresponding measures. The charge is now based on the actual electricity consumption, so as to help reduce the electricity costs of category Ⅲ users (medium enterprises), category Ⅳ users (large enterprises), category Ⅴ users (special enterprises), category Ⅵ users (non-profit organizations), and category Ⅶ users (agricultural pumping stations). Earlier, the ERC had announced the exemption period is from April to June 2020, but operators requested to consider extending the period to December 2020, and the ERC agreed to consider this demand.
As operators also called on the ERC to extend the time limit of electricity bill payment for services affected by the outbreak, such as the tourism sector and hotels, the ERC asked operators to provide more detailed information about the service sector and other industries for reference in formulating follow-up remedies.
The ERC will also review the plan to refund power deposit for large and medium-sized enterprises again in the future.
The intended purpose of the discussions on the private sector's demand to waive minimum charge has been achieved, as the ERC had worked out measures in advance, which also helped all parties reach a consensus quickly at the meeting. The Ministry of Energy is well aware that all parties are affected by the outbreak and is working to roll out various energy-related measures to help alleviate the difficulties facing all affected groups as much as possible.
Source: InfoQuest, by Arda/ Wilawan / Sasithorn, translated by Xinhua Silk Road
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