“Phase 1 of the project has been completed, and we have started to distribute electricity through 500kV (kV) high-voltage transmission lines from Bang Saphan 2 High Voltage Power Station in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province through Surat Thani 2 Power Station, and ending at Phuket High Voltage Power Station 3, a total distance of 504 kilometres,” Mr Kitii said in an announcement yesterday (May 20).
“It is the first 500kV power transmission system in the southern region,” he said.
The overall project is to increase the power transmission capacity from the Central region of Thailand to the South by more than double, from 700 megawatts (MW) to 1600 MW, Mr Kitti explained.
“The first phase of transmission system construction began at the end of 2016 and was able to deliver electricity at the end of April,” Mr Kitti confirmed.
“The project is to help support the expected increase in electricity demand after the Covid-19 situation subsides in the southern region and tourist provinces, especially Phuket Province, which has the highest demand for electricity in the south and is an important tourism industry economic zone of the country,” he said.
“This project is the first step in helping to increase the power supply capacity of Phuket up to 1,170MW. It also helps reduce the risk of power outages in a wide area in the southern region. in the case there is a disruption of the transmission line linking the Central region to the Southern region as well,” he added.
In all of Southern Thailand, Phuket power consumption is second only to Songkhla province, followed by Surat Thani, Nakhon Sri Thammarat and Trang, Mr Kitti noted earlier this year.
Phuket draws 400mW from the national grid, mostly supplied from the Khanom Power Plant in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, but supplemented by power plants at the Ratchaprapha Dam in Surat Thani and the Chana Power Plant in Songkhla.
The project also aims to avoid a another massive power disruption like the one in 2013 that saw all of Southern Thailand without power supply simply because one major power supply feed passing through Chumphon broke down while the other main supply feed was offline for maintenance.
Meanwhile, Phuket continues to suffer small, localised power outages across the island as Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) workers continually upgrade and repair power lines serving business areas and communities.