July 2, 2008

Regulatory Commission to Demand Licenses for Energy Businesses in Thailand

By Yuthana Praiwan, Bangkok Post, Thailand

Jul. 1--The new Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), which began work yesterday, is preparing to demand that energy business operators seek legitimate licenses by the end of this year.

The regulator has authority under the new Energy Business Act to govern the power business including generation, transmission, distribution and onshore gas pipeline operators, according to the commission's chairman, Direk Lavansiri.

The Act required power operators to obtain licences to operate their businesses, he said. The law came into effect in December and businesses are being given some time to adjust to the requirements.

Some operators hold invalid licences granted by local state agencies while other operators have no licences at all.

"It is time now for all related operators to ask the ERC to provide details and start to make things right," he said.

The ERC held a public hearing yesterday in Bangkok to prepare a draft regulation for licences stipulating the types of business, the term, the licence extension application and fees. The effective date would be in next six months.

Dr Direk said gas pipeline business licences would be awarded to firms including PTT Plc and Trans Thai Malaysia Co, and related businesses.

Nuclear power plants and liquefied natural gas facility operators, which supply power generators, would also require licence approval.

Rights over land appropriation for power transmission, distribution and gas pipelines would be automatically transferred to the ERC from the current state utilities and PTT Plc.

Environmental impact assessment report permits would remain mandatory under the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning.


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