The Government has called on the public to cut energy use and electricity consumption to minimize impacts from a possible electricity shortage in April 2013.
At the same time, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawata has instructed all relevant agencies to urgently prepare measures to deal with the problem, resulting from an expected disruption of the natural gas supply from Myanmar.
Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpisal told the Cabinet on 19 February 2013 that Thailand might face a nationwide power shortage, since Myanmar had announced a plan to halt the supply of natural gas from the Yadana-Yetagun gas field between 4 and 12 April. The disruption of the gas supply is meant to repair drilling rigs at the gas field.
The Yadana block is able to produce 650 million cubic feet of natural gas a day, while the Yetagun can produce 460 million cubic feet a day. Since natural gas from Yetagun is of lower quality, it has been mixed with that at the Yadana block. The maintenance shutdown will cut off the daily supply of about 1.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
It will affect the operations of several power plants in Thailand, namely Ratchaburi, Tri Energy, North Bangkok, South Bangkok, and Wang Noi power plants. These power plants have a combined capacity is 6,000 megawatts. Natural gas accounts for 70 percent of the fuel used in electricity generation in Thailand.
The Energy Minister stated that natural gas from the Gulf of Thailand would be brought in to offset the shortfall, but it would not be enough. One of the solutions is that power plants that use diesel and bunker oil would be used for electricity generation during the period. These plants are expected to generate 2,000 megawatts of electricity.
Moreover, he said, hydropower from various dams in Thailand and foreign countries, such as Laos, would be drawn on for extra electricity generation. Even so, between 100 and 1,000 megawatts of electricity would still be needed to meet the demand.
In anticipation of the shortage, the Government is seeking cooperation from the public to help save energy and electricity. For example, they should set the temperature of their air conditioners at 25 degrees Celsius, rather than below 25 degrees Celsius. Their air conditioners should be cleaned from time to time to save electricity. The public have also been urged to cut oil consumption by turning to gasohol and natural gas for vehicles.
The Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Industry, and the Ministry of Interior were told to coordinate with all government agencies to cut energy use by 10 percent. Any agency with an increase of energy use by 15 percent would face a budget reduction in the next fiscal year. Hospitals and airports are exceptions to this strict measure.