The move will deliver more stable electrical supply, say officials, who expect a dramatic fall in the number of power surges, brownouts and blackouts caused by overdrawing on the current system afflicting residents and businesses.
Although an official notice informing the pubic has been issued, there is no cause for alarm or any precautionary measures to be taken by the public, assured Boonthum Charoenpong, Manager of the Phuket branch of the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA).
“The new power supply will not harm or affect electrical appliances in houses or businesses. Please don’t worry about it,” he said.
People can keep farming and staying in their houses near the main lines and the new power towers, Mr Boonthum added.
“Of course, please keep clear of the towers. Don’t go up to touch them or bring any large equipment near them – and don’t fly any kites in the area. Other than that, the towers are absolutely safe,” he said.
The mains supply from the mainland was to be switched over this coming Tuesday (Nov 19). However, a meeting by Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand (Egat) officials overseeing the project this week pushed the switchover to Nov 30.
Although the new supply lines are rated to carry 500kV, on Nov 30 the power supply will be switched over from the 115kV now to 230kV carried through the new lines.
“This is just the latest upgrade under the plan to increase the electricity supply to Phuket to 500kV overall under a project by Egat costing B1 billion that started in 2015,” he said.
“We have already upgraded more than 360 kilometers of cables. Phuket needs more power. The previous electricity network was not stable,” Mr Boonthum explained.
“This will solve the problem. There will be fewer unscheduled power outages. The only ones will be for when we are still upgrading power lines in certain areas,” he said.
The move comes after a major push by the Phuket PEA to upgrade power supply lines across the island ahead of the switchover.
Permpon Tonsakun, Head of Phuket PEA Maintenance Division explained, “The draw on the system has been near full capacity for years. The power supply kept shutting down or became inconsistent.
“The PEA has continually worked on upgrading and installing extra cables over the past two years. We have added extra 115kV, 33kV and 400kV cables across the island. The new cables are national standard, which have a lifetime of about 25 years. Of course these cable will need maintenance or be replaced later, but they do last a long time,” he said.
“These three kinds of cables make it possible for reliable power supply to be distributed to people’s homes effectively. We will still shut down the power if an accident happens, such as a car crash, snakes causing electrical shorts or other incidents, but otherwise power outages will not happen often anymore,” Mr Permpon said.
The upgrade comes as the demand for electricity supply increases by about 8% each year, Mr Permpon explained.
“In 2018, people across Phuket used about 455.4MW. This year that rose 491.3MW,” he said. “Next year, demand is expected to reach up to about 520MW. Right now we can supply a maximum of only 630MW, but by next year that will be increased to about 700 MW.”
To distribute the upgraded supply are 12 substations across the island: nine for residential and normal commercial use and three for individual users: Phuket International Airport, Phuket FantaSea and Central Phuket.
“We will set up a new power station at a rented site near Kathu Interection at the end of this year, and another one in Kamala in 2020,” Mr Permpon said.