EGAT privatization back on Thai agenda

15 October 2005 – Thailand has revived its plan to privatize the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat). Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra announced the establishment of a ten-member committee chaired by Boonchoo Direksathapon, the managing director of Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc to seek the most suitable privatisation model for Egat.

The last attempt to put together a plan to sell the state power company foundered back in March after protests from labour unions.

The committee is expected to evaluate four or five privatisation models that have been used in various countries, and to invite all parties concerned to discuss them, before recommending the most suitable approach. The process is expected to take about three to four months to complete.

“Whether Egat should be privatised or not would depend on reason, based on the study of the committee, not on human emotion”, said Mr Somsak, who has been newly assigned to oversee energy affairs and visited Egat yesterday.

Mr Somsak said he also directed the state power utility to freeze power tariff for electrical pumping activity in the agricultural sector.

In addition, Mr Somsak said he asked Egat to study the possibility of installing hydropower generation units at the existing dams of the Royal Irrigation Department, of which more than 1000 nationwide have no installed power generation. The move would help increase power supply without new power plant construction.