As a long-term resident of Bangkok, Thailand, I’ve always been amazed by how often the hottest city in the world has power cuts. Only last week, my area of Bangkok experienced two power cuts — one lasting 30 minutes while the second caused electricity to be off for over an hour.
According to the Thai government, Thailand’s problems with an electricity shortage could be about to get worse during April, Thailand’s hottest month. That means, if you’re a tourist planning on traveling to Thailand in April, you ahouls be aware it could suddenly be a lot hotter than expected, particularly when the air-conditioning goes out.
As Thailand’s ability to have sufficient electricity to power its ever increasing industrial and consumer needs is worsening, the Thai government is now reporting likely rolling power cuts throughout April. If power cuts do occur, as is expected, this will not only affect Thais but will also impact tourists throughout Thailand.
At least 25 percent of Thailand’s electricity is created from natural gas the country’s power plants purchase every month from neighboring Myanmar (Burma). The current electricity crisis in Thailand is being caused by the country’s dependence on natural gas from Myanmar and Thailand’s refusal to build more power plants.
A problem at the best of times, but made worse recently when Myanmar announced they would be doing maintenance on gas facilities for at least a week in April. This will affect the amount of natural gas Thailand is able to buy and, thus, the amount of electricity it is able to produce.
Of course, Thailand does have some electricity in reserve but, as evidenced by rolling black outs in Bangkok in the last few weeks, it’s obviously not enough. This means during April, which is Thailand’s hottest month with temperatures averaging well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, many areas of Thailand could see rolling blackouts.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) has announced they’re looking into buying electricity from Malaysia, but whether this plan will come to fruition is anyone’s guess. That’s why, if you’re a tourist planning on traveling in Thailand during April, be aware your hotel may not have electricity for an hour or two a day and restaurants, cafes and shopping malls could get a little warm.
Of course, Thailand’s electricity problems have been increasing every year and you’d think a government with any common sense would have been looking into ways to solve the problems.
Unfortunately, however, it is the nature of many in Thailand to not attempt to fix a problem until it is at crisis level, which was experienced in 2010 when a third of the country ended up under more than 10 feet of flood water due to lack of planning for a flooding problem warned about years before.
Thailand’s electricity crisis will likely be just the same.