Trang locals vexed by PEA’s abrupt power cuts over minimal duesLegacy

Residents in Trang province are experiencing a wave of frustration following a stringent new policy by the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) that has led to the abrupt disconnection of electricity services and the removal of metres for overdue payments as low as 100 baht. Without warning, many are caught off guard by the aggressive enforcement that has seen meters removed en masse, leaving households in the dark and scrambling for solutions.

The PEA’s initiative, which was intended to provide relief by deferring electricity disconnections for residential users with monthly bills not exceeding 300 baht (US$8) for up to three bills, has been overshadowed by a more immediate concern. This policy, which began with the November 2023 billing cycle and is set to continue until November this year, was meant to alleviate financial burdens on the public.

However, the situation on the ground is heated. The PEA has contracted with private companies to disconnect services and remove metres from households with just one month of unpaid bills. This action has been taken without any prior notification, be it through written warnings or mobile phone alerts.

In the Mueang district of Trang province, residents have expressed their anger after private contractors were found removing metres, leaving many without electricity after just one month or as they entered the second month of arrears.

A recent visit to a village in the Ban Khuan sub-district of Mueang, Trang, revealed a household that had its electricity cut off and its metre removed in broad daylight on March 4, while the homeowner was out. Upon returning home in the evening and finding the lights out, the homeowner was shocked to discover the metre gone with an outstanding bill of just 1,123.51 baht (US$31).

The homeowner, who had no previous warnings, had never defaulted before but occasionally paid late, believing there was a three-month grace period. The sudden enforcement of this strict policy forced the family to spend a night in a hotel, incurring additional expenses, before settling the bill and a penalty fee the next day. By the evening, the same contractors had reinstalled the metre.

Meter removals

The contractors, from separate companies based in Surat Thani and Phatthalung, admitted to removing meters daily by the sackful, even for one-month arrears, due to the new policy. Their knowledge of the policy’s specifics was limited, and their daily tasks included reconnecting more than 10 households from morning to evening, reported KhaoSod.

In the contractors’ possession, metres and documents were found indicating that the same one-month arrears policy applied to all, with some bills as low as 153.71 baht (US$4). This rigorous approach to bill collection has caused significant distress among residents, exacerbated by the region’s scorching heat.

The story Trang locals vexed by PEA’s abrupt power cuts over minimal dues as seen on Thaiger News.

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Author: Nattapong Westwood