Laos Likely to Benefit from Thailand’s Energy Shortage


Thailand is suffering from an acute energy crisis at the moment and the Energy Ministry of the country plans on closing pubs, petrol pumps, and 24-hour convenience stores early if the situation deteriorates further. 

Kurit Sombatsiri, the Permanent Secretary of the Energy Ministry, informed that the rising prices of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and the weak baht could adversely affect energy costs next year. The Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) met with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday to discuss possible measures to combat this crisis.

Around a dozen measures were discussed in the meeting and one of the primary steps included looking out for more sources of energy from hydropower plants in neighboring countries, such as Laos.

Earlier this year, the country signed a new agreement that allowed it to increase its electricity purchases from Laos from 9,000 to 10,500 MW, enabling the Kingdom to expand its supply from renewable sources.

Thailand signed agreements to purchase power from six hydropower plants in Laos namely the Nam Ngum 3 power plant, the Mekong Power Plant at Pak Lai, dams and hydro installations in Luang Prabang, Pak Bang, and the Sekong 4A and 4B Hydropower Project.

Business and industrial departments are also expected to cooperate to save energy in the country. The government will urge them to adjust air conditioning temperatures to 27 degrees Celsius, close gas stations by 11 pm, turn off lights on advertising billboards, and regulate the opening periods of shopping malls and other such buildings and centers that need a large amount of energy to function regularly.

Avenues like shopping malls, convenience stores, and entertainment venues will be requested to turn off their air conditioning an hour before closing or earlier if possible. The government will also ask industries to search for devices that save energy and it will assist businesses with information, recommendations, and some of their investment costs.

These measures are likely to come into effect if the spot LNG JKM (Japan Korea Marker) price crosses USD 50 per one million British thermal unit (BTU) for 14 days in a row. The current price stands at USD 28 to USD 29 per one million BTU.