Thailand: Discounts on cooking gas and power tariff

The Energy Policy Administration Committee (Epac) on Monday agreed to extend a subsidy for cooking gas for social welfare beneficiaries and assistance for household electricity bills until the end of this year.

About 3.74 million people under the state social welfare card scheme will be entitled to a 100-baht discount on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) used for cooking. Most households will be given graded discounts on the fuel tariff (Ft) component of electricity bills from September to December.

The measures will be forwarded to the cabinet for final approval before they take effect.

Financial aid for cooking gas was scheduled to end in September, but would be extended. The  discount would also increase from 45 baht to 100 baht per 15-kilogramme standard cylinder, said Kulit Sombatsiri, permanent secretary for energy.

The official LPG for cooking price is set to increase in August to 393 baht and again in September, to 408. However, local prices in many areas are already higher, accordng to householders.

The Department of Energy Business is calculating how much the Finance Ministry needs to budget for the LPG price subsidy programme.

The energy policy committee will also slow down electricity price rises, allocating 8 billion baht to give discounts to most households wired into the two state electricity agencies — the Metropolitan Electricity Authority and the Provincial Electricity Authority.

The committe wants to maintain the electricity tariff at 3.72 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit), instead of having it soar to a record high of 4.72 baht per unit between September and December.

The 3.72-baht rate was used from January to April this year.

House owners who use less than 300 units of electricity a month will be given an Ft discount of 0.92 baht per unit.

Ft and the base tariff are two key elements in the power charge. The base tariff refers to the cost of power plants and distribution systems, while the fuel tariff is mainly determined by fuel costs, which are increasing.

According to Epac, households that use between 301 and 500 units of electricity a month will be given15-75% discounts on Ft. The less electricity they use, the larger discount they will get. About 80% of households use less than 500 units a month.