Integrated Power System Development in Border Area of Thailand: Sangkhlaburi District
Provincial Electricity Authority

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Electricity is a basic public utility needed to improve the quality of life and the economy of the country. In Thailand, Provincial Electricity Authority or PEA is responsible for the provision of standardized electricity services covering 74 provinces, or 99% of the nationwide area. One of the most important function is to expand the electricity service area to cover all responsible areas. All households, therefore, equalized access to the electricity services. Sangkhlaburi district is located in the western border area of Thailand, next to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. There are estimated 38,971 people or 12,345 households. Sangkhlaburi area has been electrified since 1981. In addition, PEA also sells the 22 kV electricity system to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in order to supply power to the people of Payathonsu. Although people in Sangkhlaburi area have been able to access to the electricity for more than 30 years, there still were problems and limitations. According to the available power system, the use of electricity always faced the problems of power system reliability, for example, frequent power outage, long-term outage duration, voltage drop, and insufficiency power supply. Power failure potentially affected several impacts both of people in Sangkhlaburi and Payathonsu. The main problems closely related to their everyday life. There were limitations on the uses of the water pump and agricultural process, healthcare service of the hospital, learning process in school. Moreover, it was caused the restriction of the local business expansion which directly impacts to local employment. Poverty and scarcity then resulted in consequent social problems in this area i.e. drug traffic, prostitution, and smuggling migration.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The solution approaches were firstly from intensive electricity distribution system improvements in order to elevate the level of power reliability and sufficiency. After that, PEA’s executives and officers worked closely collaborate with relevant agencies i.e. several government agencies, local administration, local entrepreneurs, local residents, and neighboring country. Finally, the uses of efficient and safe electricity were then introduced to all local stakeholders in order to promote the sustainable energy future.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Formerly, PEA had continually solved the problem of electricity consumption in Sangkhlaburi area. There, however, were several constraints. Sangkhlaburi is in a remote area which has to pass the restricted area in order to extend and improve the power distribution systems. Therefore, the former corrections were just a solution to the immediate problems by repairing or replacing equipment when power outages occurred. In addition, there was a lack of public hearing from the affected people and entrepreneurs. Current solution approach has been systematically planned the power distribution system and preventive maintenance development by defining the short, medium and long-term plans. The power system design is properly improved for an area with dense trees. Advanced technology is also used for reducing the duration of power outages. Furthermore, the implementations are highly focused on all stakeholder participation especially for government agencies, local administration, local entrepreneurs, and local residents.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
PEA has embraced the royal initiated development principles of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, “Understand, Access, and Develop”, as a key guideline approach. Understand – deeply study the past vexed question, for example, the problem of obtaining the permission from the related government agencies, construction difficulty in hilly, devious, and long distance area, and impact reduction approach of planned power outages under the construction processes. Access – PEA’s Executives and officers closely discuss with all stakeholders including representatives of the local residents, government agencies, Khao Laem National Park, local administration, and local entrepreneurs. The intentional listening is beneficial to acknowledge the actual problems, impacts, and useful suggestions. Develop – improve and develop the project procedures after studying the obstacles and listening to all stakeholders. The key success approaches highly focus on integrated work processes with all relevant agencies.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The propulsion of the initiative was mobilized the working teams from several departments of PEA to expedite the project within a specified timeframe. PEA also coordinates with other key government agencies, for example, local administration, Khao Laem National Park, and the Royal Forest Department. According to the integrated procedure, PEA work closely with the community, local residents, local entrepreneurs, and all other related stakeholders. Results of the initiative implementation, the residents of 17,890 people in Sangkhlaburi area have a better quality of life due to the sufficient and reliable power system. It can also support the local occupation, especially for agriculture, livestock, and handicraft. Moreover, the local entrepreneurs in Sangkhlaburi area potentially have higher performance. According to industry statistics in Kanchanaburi, the overall annual revenue increased from 353 million baht in 2014 to 892 million baht in 2015-2016. This causes the incremental local employments. Residents in the area can earn higher income from the employments which most of them are female workers, accounting for 70%. The problem of migration or leaving the hometown to work in the city are then decreased. According to Kanchanaburi statistical office, the migration data in 2015-2016 was reduced 46% comparing with baseline in 2014. In addition, the residents are able to access to the higher service quality of the 23 government agencies, schools, and hospitals. Besides beneficial to Thai people, the employment of Burmese and other nationality (e.g. Mon and Karen) who migrate to work in Sangkhlaburi increased from 4,980 people in 2014 to 11,890 people in 2016. Furthermore, 6,890 people of Payathonsu in Myanmar which purchased electricity from Thailand also obtain the benefit of this initiative.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
In order to effectively improve the power system in this area, PEA pursued the corporate strategy by developing power distribution systems that achieved the highest possible level of sufficiency, efficiency, reliability and safety standards. PEA had integrated the systematic solution of the power system problem in Sangkhlaburi area. The budget approved for the implementation of the plan, the mobilization of resources, working teams, vehicles, and other equipment. PEA had mobilized the four main resources (Man, Money, Materials, and Management) to develop the higher level of reliability and adequacy of electrical systems. Executives of the PEA mobilized the construction teams throughout the responsible area of Central Area 3 to accelerate the construction of the 2nd circuit distribution system under the budget of approximately 300 million baht. Materials and related equipment were procured in order to keep up with the construction schedule. There also had been a follow-up meeting every 15 days to monitor the construction progress and immediately revised the construction plan if there were unplanned problems or obstacles.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
There were several relevant stakeholders which contributed to the successful operations. Khao Laem National Park and the Royal Forest Department allowed the PEA to carry out the construction of the power distribution system through that area. It could also trim the branches of trees which cause the power failure. PEA’s executives and officers closely cooperated with several government agencies and local administrations, for example, governors, Sangkhlaburi sheriff, police officers, hospitals, educational institutes, administrators of local administration organizations, municipal administrative organizations. In the accelerating construction processes, there were several times of planned outages. Local resident and entrepreneurs were very supportive and went along with the system improvement and construction plans.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The obvious effectiveness of the initiative was power system reliability and sufficiency in Sangkhlaburi area. Power outage statistics in 2015-2016 had an average of 2.7 outages per month. After the power distribution system improvement, the numbers of power outages were significantly reduced to 1 time per month in the early of 2017. Moreover, the average of each power outage durations was reduced from 1-3 hours to 15-30 minutes. In term of energy sufficiency, the new system could supply double capacity of the previous system. The rated capacity is increased from 8 MW to 16 MW which can serve the continuing growth of electricity demand until 2023.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The first main obstacle of this project was the problem of applying for a construction permit of power distribution system through the National Park and the Royal Forest Department. PEA’s executives and officers intimately contacted the approving agency, strictly followed the application steps and closely followed up the progress. The next main problem was the frequent planned outages in the accelerating construction processes. There were several stages of public hearing and project explanation. Local residents and other stakeholders were invited to inform and clarify all necessary procedures. The last main obstacle was the difficulty of the construction area. Along the 70-km construction way, the route was highly steep and narrow which risked the accident. The construction teams were particularly trained and clarified the construction procedures before start working.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
There were several beneficiaries of the integrated power system development in Sangkhlaburi area. Local residents were able to have jobs in the area, earn income from employment, and did not have to migrate to work in the city. They also had a better quality of life, with an equal access to public health services and education. For private sector and local businesses, there was sufficient and efficient power distribution system. It potentially caused the economic growth and increment of employment for both Thai and Burmese in this area. Moreover, it also encouraged cultural tourism and related businesses. For macro scale, it could support the reduction of social and community conflict, crimes and illegally migration. It also promoted the cross-border economy, the relationship between neighboring country, and increment of Thai-Myanmar border security.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
PEA manages the organization with good governance principles based on the rule of law, morality, accountability, participation, responsibility, and cost effective. The development of power distribution system in accordance with the plan to increase the power supply capacity in Sangkhlaburi area shows that PEA is responsible for the provision of standardized electricity services and related businesses to attain the customer’s satisfaction on products and services through PEA’s continual corporate development plans with the recognition of social and environmental responsibility. PEA is sincerely committed to developing power systems for all responsible area including in remote areas to have sufficient electricity and easy access to services.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
PEA used various measures during the project implementation to ensure that the initiative had been most beneficial to all stakeholders. PEA coordinated with Kanchanaburi statistical office, Kanchanaburi labour office, and Sangkhlaburi sheriff to follow up and evaluate the quality of life development of the residents in Sangkhlaburi area. The outcomes of the initiative were evaluated from the statistics of local employments, business growth, migration or leaving the hometown to work in the city, drug traffic, and prostitution. To ensure that the initiative meets the highest requirements, PEA periodically scheduled public hearings during the project implementation. Focus groups with local residents, local entrepreneurs, and representatives of government and private agencies were periodically set up in order to discuss, clarify, and create partnerships. In January 2017, the research survey was also used for conducting the opinions from the 200 samples of Thai, Myanmar, representatives of business owners, school, and hospital. The results show that beneficiary was most satisfied with the initiative. The average satisfactions of electrical safety, power system reliability, and overall of power system improvement were 89.4%, 88.6%, and 86.4% respectively.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Provincial Electricity Authority
Institution Type:   Public Authority  
Contact Person:   Songsak Sakulniyombhorn
Title:   Chief of Customer Relations Section  
Telephone/ Fax:   +(66) 2 589 0100
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   200 Ngamwongwan Road, Ladyao,
Postal Code:   10900
City:   Jatujak
State/Province:   Bangkok

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