Bangkok’s electrifying plan to bury cables sparks into life
Bangkok’s electrifying plan to bury cables sparks into lifeLegacy

Bangkok citizens may have scoffed last year when the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) declared its grand plan to bury 1,454 kilometres of electrical cables underground over the next decade. It seemed like a shocking revelation but the sparks of doubt soon flickered away as the city geared up for the electrifying endeavour.

This initiative was further illuminated by the newly elected Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt, who sparked renewed enthusiasm when he took office two years ago.

The 57 year old city chief conductor unveiled a plan in June 2022 to zap away the eyesore cables that had cluttered Bangkok’s skyline since 1984. And it seems the current was flowing in the right direction, with city operatives this week buzzing around to remove cables along the length of Asok Montri Road, also known as Sukhumvit 21.

Chadchart illuminated his two-part plan to shock the city into action: to complete the 40 year old project of untangling the city’s messy power cables, replacing them with fresh strands, and burying them beneath the ground. While he didn’t plug in a specific timeframe for completion, he did acknowledge that a shocking number of the tangled electrical cables dangling around the streets were no longer in use and could be disconnected.

During a Cabinet meeting on May 17, 2022, sparks flew as the MEA’s project to plunge power and communication wires underground in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, and Samut Prakarn was unveiled. This project, which began its circuit in 1984, had only managed to electrify 55.7 kilometres of cables out of its targeted 236 kilometres.

MEA Governor Wilas Chaloeysat, however, lit up the room as he outlined the project’s objectives, not merely aiming to improve the convenience of electricity distribution but also to amp up the efficiency of the system. This electrifying approach would implement smart technology to power up the management of the infrastructure, all part of the overarching concept of smart metro grids and smart meters, said Wilas.

Bangkok's electrifying plan to bury cables sparks into life | News by Thaiger
Pictures courtesy of Darren Lyons

“As of now, we’ve already rerouted 91 kilometres of electrical wires beneath the city’s surface. We’re gearing up to extend the reach of this project by a further 236.1 kilometres by 2027, with the total length of the wiring to be moved underground amounting to around 1,454 kilometres.”

This plan would also see a surge in the number of smart meters from 33,265 to a staggering 441,400 sets by 2027. This smart meter system would enable MEA staff to detect and zap system issues promptly, helping to address problems even before they cause a power outage, Wilas confirmed.

“We’re sparking big changes for the city’s residents to make life more convenient. We’re following our principle of ‘Go Smart, Go Digital, and Go Green’ for a sustainably charged future.”

It’s hoped the plan will recharge and re-energise the city. Time will tell.

Bangkok's electrifying plan to bury cables sparks into life | News by Thaiger Bangkok's electrifying plan to bury cables sparks into life | News by Thaiger Bangkok's electrifying plan to bury cables sparks into life | News by Thaiger

 

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Author: Bob Scott