8 February 2010 - The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) has increased its projection for power demand growth this year to 4.72 per cent from 3 per cent.
Thailand's power usage totalled 145.233m MWh in 2009. Egat said it is set to rise to 150 MWh this year. Egat's annual projection was revised up after January's power consumption jumped to 12.281 MWh, a 21 per cent year-on-year increase, said governor Sutat Patmasiriwat.
Last January's figures are considered a low base as the country was in the midst of a severe recession and consumption had plummeted. Last month's increase was mainly driven by recovery in the business sector, particularly export production.
"January's percentage increase was the highest record in Egat's history," said Mr Sutat. "But January 2009 was also the first time we had recorded a contraction," he added.
The global recession, which started late 2008, caused power demand to contract until the trend reversed last August. Power consumption has been in record double-digit yearly growth territory since last November, he said.
Projected peak power demand has also been revised for the year to 23 GW, a 5.2 pecent yearly increase, up from 3.5 per cent. Power demand would peak during the summer in April.
Last year's peak demand was 22.044 GW, the same as in 2007, due to the recession and other factors. A rebound in the economy after three years of sluggishness could be the cause of January's higher-than-expected power consumption, said Mr Sutat.
Additional electricity capacity this year will total 1620 MW; 700 MW from Egat's gas-fired plant in North Bangkok and 920 MW imported from the Nam Theun 2 hydropower plant in Laos.
Reserve power capacity remains at 28 GW, above 20 per cent of total capacity.