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Could Thai shops and nightlife be forced to close early?

Power restrictions in Thailand
Power restrictions in Thailand

Electricity restrictions? 

Thailand’s Energy Minister is looking to the private sector to help start saving on power as the cost of generating the country’s electricity continues to rise. Homes and businesses may be asked to tighten up their use of power, including shopping centres, petrol stations, convenience stores and the country’s lucrative nightlife venues.

At the core of the issue is the worldwide rise of liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices, used in Thailand’s power production.

Kulit Sombatsir, the permanent secretary for Thailand’s Energy Ministry, says the prices will likely continue to rise over the next few months as the northern hemisphere’s energy demands increase as temperatures cool.

Other issues impacting the cost of LNG include the Russian-Ukrainian war and the depreciation of the Thai baht against the USD.

Speaking to The Pattaya News, the permanent secretary says that they’ve set a trigger for mandatory power savings.

“If the LNG prices climb to $50 per metric million British thermal unit for more than two consecutive weeks, the electricity-saving campaign, which is usually adopted voluntarily by people, will be made mandatory.”

The proposed electricity rationing would force businesses, including bars and nightclubs, to close early or reduce their electricity use. The current proposal does not include the exact hours or which sort of businesses will be specifically targeted.

Thanakorn Kuptajit, speaking on behalf of the Thai Alcoholic Beverage Business Association, says the move would “…undermine the recovery of the economy as Thailand is in high season and be extremely unpopular with tourists”.

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