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Dining by candlelight in Phuket City in May during a blackout

No Guarantee of Phuket Power Supply for High Season, Governor Told

Sunday, October 27, 2013
PHUKET: Phuket could not be more than 90 percent assured of high season power supplies, Governor Maitree Intrusud heard this week.

The governor told a meeting looking at potential high season issues that he had been caught in a 40 minute blackout recently while in Patong's Soi Bangla, watching a boxing match that was being televised around the world.

The telecast ended in blackness, said the governor, and he was now looking for reassurance about Phuket's future power supplies.

Still strong in the memory of Phuket residents is the power failure that put the lights out on Phuket and across 13 other southern provinces for several hours one night in May.

What troubled the governor even more was the shutdown in Samui for three days in December last year.

''Can you guarantee that Phuket won't have a power failure like Samui?'' he asked.

No such guarantee could be given beyond 90 percent, said the Phuket Electric Authority representative at the Phuket Provincial Hall meeting.

The island was equipped to deal with small local outages these days with three teams, each of eight people, on standby around the clock.

But with most of the island's supply still coming from other provinces by cable, only a 90 percent guarantee of continued supplies could be given when the governor wanted 99.9 percent.

Comments

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The 90% from the PEA is pure guesswork, nowhere in the world can you guarantee a 90 or for that matter a 99.99 % guarantee for the power supply...if a transformers breaks it breaks, if bad weather strikes, flood, landslide, lightning then power is just out until it gets fixed again...and add hereto the human factor, power lines can be cut by mistake or sabotage in the south ... just to mention a few so to guarantee any kind of a percentage is simply not possible.What PEA is to do their best and my personal experience after having had property at east coast since 96 is not bad at all.

Posted by Sailor on October 27, 2013 14:46

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I believe the reason why the southern blackout was so long and extensive was the fact that there was no redundancy plan or equipment.

Things can fail but responsible operators factor this in and have rerouting plans in place if crucial infrastructure fails.

In addition, prudent maintenance significantly reduces the probability of failure.

A good example would be an airplane which often has 2 or 3 independent systems doing the same task just in case something fails. All it's components also have a predetermined amount of hours they can be used for, after which the parts need to be replaced, regardless of being broken or not in order to avoid failure during operation.

Bad weather is predictable and seasonally common in Thailand, no excuses there either.

The Suvarnabhumi Air Traffic Control Tower power outage is a prime example of how seriously this mentality of thinking ahead and providing redundancy is lacking in Thai society in general.

Posted by ThaiMike on October 27, 2013 15:25

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Sailor, I think 99.9% can be achieved or even 100% as for many years I lived in a city which never had power cuts.

Posted by Same, same But Different. on October 27, 2013 15:45

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Power cuts happens everywhere , latest from today .. London http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-194118/Travel-chaos-power-cut-hits-London.html

You cannot have redundancy for everything in a power grid and even if you had there is always a risk that the replacement for the replacement is failing as well. Generally EGAT and locally PEA is doing a good job providing power to this big country. Here a recent one from New York as well...http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/26/nyregion/metro-norths-new-haven-line-suspended-after-power-loss.html?_r=0

Posted by Sailor on October 27, 2013 17:40

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- Sailor

Indeed they can happen anywhere but you quote local subway power outages.

You need to consider the severity of the outage, not just the fact that it happened somewhere

It's one thing for a single company or operator to lose power but quite another to leave 20% of a country and 12 million people in total darkness.

The ATC outage at BKK airport was unheard of in times of modern aviation and made headlines around the world. Pilots in the air were unable to reach the ATC for more than 1 hour with predictable consequences.

Aviation services are supposed to have highest levels of redundancy and are dictated by international safety standards. The fact that Thailand breached such fundamental safety regulations is the reason why I chose it as an example.

Posted by ThaiMike on October 27, 2013 18:39

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Power-cuts happens everywhere, true, but in some countries a power-cut is an event so seldom, that it is mentioned in the press.
Parts of Patong are out of power 1-2 hours almost every week, so there might a problem with maintenance, and that is certainly not due to to low revenues collected by the power supplier.

Posted by Sherlock on October 27, 2013 18:56

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@Thaimike...What my point is that there is a risk everywhere and that you just can't say that there is not.
If you have been a bit involved in industries where safety (and power supply) is extremely important then you will also be aware that a lot of time and money is spend on risk analysis in order to find out how to reduce the risk as much as possible , not to remove it because you simply can't.
At the Eastcoast where we have had villa(s) the last almost 20 years there have not been that many power cuts , I understand that in Patong it is different, it may indeed be different everywhere in the island.
The case you bring up with aviation is a completely different story and does not relate to the general power supply to Thai households and industries. Personally I am quite happy with the power supply I get and I am also very happy with the price I pay per kWh.

Posted by Sailor on October 27, 2013 19:42

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I think that nobody understood yet where the problem come from.. From corruption and no respect of the building law (this means that all official in Or bor tor are involved too). When PEA make plane to supply a new building looks at the preject on the paper, not at the finished real building. So this means that all the abusive apartments and house bigger than in the project and all that isn't on the paper project (even 2 or more floors in some hotel) make any transformer runs over his capacity. Moreover there isn't any balance between the 3 phases: this means that one could be overcharged and another down charged. PEA calculataes the maximum on a single phases, living the rest like a "reserve". But the real over building eats the "reserve" and more.. Amazing thailand!!!

Posted by richard on October 28, 2013 10:02

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@Richard, when we built our house we had 3 phase powerinstalled, that was at the time a bit uncommon... what I noticed was that from time to time some equipment in the house worked and some not so well, measured the 3 phases and could instead of the rated 240 V at all phases see 240/140/80V, went to the office but was not able to explain it properly. I then had my electrician make and install a voltage reading system next to the phases with big meters for easy reading...we then invited the PEA officers to come and have a look, they came, they saw, and they fixed/changed a transformer in the neighbourhood and since then no problems...

Posted by Sailor on October 28, 2013 12:57

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Last time I was in Samui the power went off every day in Chaweng. All hotels have a big genni out front. Patongs newest hotels are built with their own gensets, I get ambient light from Novotel when the power goes off. I keep plenty batteries at home since the May blackout. Generally consider the appalling state of the wiring on display in Patong, stuff works. When it blows, a fella goes up the bamboo ladder laid directly against the wiring, and fixes it. Ballsy job he does

Posted by geoff on November 20, 2013 22:53

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btw, anyone knows, why they build a transformer station in Kata? Patak road, direction to Chalong, apr. 200m behind the school, half up the hill on the right side. The new (and higher) poles getting a higher voltage, maybe?
Could be a first step, to fight shut downs.

Posted by Anonymous on November 21, 2013 11:05


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