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Thai businesses facing rising power bills, fewer customers due to heatwave

PHOTO: Fox Weather

And households as well.

Thailand’s restaurants and entertainment venues are struggling with rising electricity bills and fewer customers due to the current heatwave gripping the country. By contrast, the shopping centres are doing well, as both Thais and foreigners flock to the shopping centres to enjoy a bit of free air-con.

Thanakorn Kuptachit from the Thai Alcohol Business Association says the country’s bars, nightlife, hotels and restaurants are struggling. Not only is there a drop-off in customers who don’t want to go out in the heat, but venues are facing rising electricity costs as their refrigerators and air-conditioning have to work harder and remain constantly running.

“Although businesses are running normally, they are being affected by the unfavourable weather. However, there is still support from night-time tourists, although the legal closing time has still not been extended as previously proposed.”

The president of the Thai Restaurant Association echoes this, saying electricity bills are rising significantly. Thaniwan Kulmongkol says that the latest overall electricity bill for one large restaurant chain has shot up by over 70%. She points out that restaurants cannot pass these costs on to customers and so they have to be absorbed into management expenses.

It’s not bad news for everyone, however, with Central World enjoying an increase of 10 – 15% in customer numbers, welcoming more than 200,000 a day during the recent Songkran holiday. Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana from Central’s Marketing Division, says people are also spending longer in the malls, averaging 3 – 4 hours per visit.

Meanwhile, caretaker PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has acknowledged the difficulties faced by some businesses. He says he’s waiting for a special meeting with the Energy Regulatory Commission in order to approve a reduction of 7 satang in the electricity rate between May and August.

SOURCE: The Phuket Express

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