Tourism News

Tourism News Phuketwan Tourism News
facebook recommendations


Sign up now for our News Alert emails and the latest breaking news plus new features.

Click to subscribe

Existing subscribers can unsubscribe here


Out go the lights: Patong council votes not to accept a 200 million baht gift

Patong's Rebel Council Turns Down 200m Baht Gift to Bury Beach Road Power Lines

Friday, September 5, 2014
PHUKET: Patong's wayward council has rejected 200 million baht to put the electrical wiring along the holiday hub's beach road underground in what appears to be an attempt at political revenge - or political suicide. The latter is most likely.

Fourteen members of the council today rejected the deal with the Phuket Electric Authority.

Although the arrangement would have required the council to pay an additional 70 million baht, the benefits to Patong appear to be obvious.

Council members would only have to drive a few kilometers south to Karon to see how much more pleasant their neighbor's beach road looks with the wiring underground.

It's the last chance for Patong to gain the 200 million baht. The Electric Authority has said that if the offer is not taken up by the end of September, the money will be spent on other projects.

Patong Mayor Chalermlak Kebsub continues to be frustrated by the contrary behavior of the council.

Elected in a re-run poll with two supporters earlier this year, Mayor Chalermlak and her two party followers are surrounded by relics from Patong's past.

The opposition to the new mayor backs former mayor Pian Keesin and blocks good ideas with about as much thought as rubbish blocks Patong's drains.

''It's difficult to understand why you are doing this,'' the mayor said today at the council meeting.

''Most people in Patong can see the sense in putting the wiring underground and being paid 200 million baht to help do it.''

A public meeting had been held under former Mayor Pian and at that time, the project had the overwhelming endorsement of the council.

All that has changed in the meantime is that Mayor Pian has gone and Mayor Chalermlak is his legally-elected replacement.

Meanwhile, one believable explanation has emerged for Patong's frequent flooding.

While unconfirmed, it is alleged that grates on drains were replaced with closed hatches to keep evil smells below road level.

But of course, floodwaters run straight over the hatches rather than disappearing down through the grates.

Anything underground, it seems, whether it be proper drains to deal with floodwaters or new electrical wiring, can't be done well in Patong.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Step by step, fix the drainage first. Putting wires underground will look nicer and also a lot safer? I guess.

Posted by Nauts on September 5, 2014 13:27


I agree..political suicide is an understatement..these guys cant get out of the way of their own foolish pride....but yes lets get the drainage done...

Posted by sky on September 5, 2014 14:53


If they're such hardcore supporters of the previous mayor, kick them out and start again with a new team that wants to move Patong forward, simple. It's clear for all to see that any attempt the new major makes to change anything will be blocked by these? Well what should you call them!!!!

Posted by phuket madness on September 5, 2014 14:59

Editor Comment:



They're right...Can't do underground lines because the digging and construction would leave all those tuk tuks that sit along the beach road with no place to go and we can't interfere with their agendas now can we?

Posted by zig on September 5, 2014 15:10


Very good Ed, very good!!!!!!!

Posted by phuket madness on September 5, 2014 15:51


I'm a bit confused how these councils work. Are the council members not elected? Appointed, and if so by whom? Can't the Mayor just fire them?

Posted by christian on September 5, 2014 16:56

Editor Comment:

It's called democracy, christian. Perhaps it's a while since you experienced one. Basically, officials are all elected so the mayor, who is also elected, can't sack them. She and two of her followers were elected when the Electoral Commission ordered a fresh poll following breaches by the previous mayor and two of his supporters. The new mayor won, but the former mayor's team still holds the majority in the council.


Yes she's Phuket's version of President Obama, both democratically elected, but both powerless to do anything that will make any difference.

Posted by reader on September 5, 2014 18:25


Lets hope the Interior Minister in BKK hears about this, comes down and sacks them all, like he did in Pang Nga.

No matter what the Mayoress does, she will always be voted down.

As for the drains, any buildings found to be on the drain obstructing/restricting it, the owner of that property should be handed a 90 day notice to have it fixed, if not. They then should be taken to court, made to repair it at double the cost.

Posted by Tbs on September 5, 2014 20:13


As they endorsed it earlier their change of heart is all but telling. Not difficult to understand. They seem to not give a rats ass about the public, it seems all about personal gain. Without the former mayor less till nothing to gain from this contract.

Posted by Lena on September 5, 2014 21:05


its a shame lots of out of work tuk tuk drivers who say how do we feed our familys could become trench diggers.

Posted by slickmelb on September 5, 2014 21:09


It must be extremely frustrating to have the job of Mayoress and have a majority of the ex - Mayors cronies on the Council. It isn't a good reflection for Khun Keesin when he seems to have enough problems without these people causing him more unwanted attention. No doubt their bank accounts will be looked into and they will be removed by the Junta.

Posted by irishkev on September 5, 2014 21:41



I'm quite aware what democracy is, and experienced it just few days ago when I voted in a national election, thank you very much. No need for rudeness or snide remarks. My question was completely honest, I DID really wonder how the Patong city council is set up. Well, how can the council be stacked with supporters of the LOSER then is my next question naturally? If their party lost the election?

Posted by christian on September 5, 2014 22:59

Editor Comment:

No rudeness or snideness directed at you in my response, christian, just your misperception of it. People living in Thailand will quickly understand the point being made. But it does frustrate me that rather than do the small amount of research required - a search on the site for the new mayor, for example - people will instead ''Ask the Ed,'' who really has better things to do. Mayor Pian and his team won the election, then the mayor and two councilors were reprimanded by the Electoral Commission for polling discrepancies and forced into a re-run, which they lost. Khun Chalermlak did not taker part in the initial election, so her arrival not only led to the downfall of Mayor Pian but also carried two of her party members into the council. However, the previous election of all the other councillors still stands.


Seems a fairly obvious solution to this problem - anything she wants to do (such as bury the cables) she tells the council to NOT do it, they vote against her, thereby she gets what she wants. There is an easy solution to most problems ....

Posted by Amazing Thailand on September 5, 2014 23:29


Maybe the people who have , um 'capitalised' from and Approved the inadequate drainage system are worried that putting the electrical system underground will surely lead to power outages and possible deaths.
When that happens , the debacle that is Broken ( Always) Middle Road may finally be investigated and the whole road found wanting.

Posted by chob on September 6, 2014 02:33


First, when I red this story, I was laughing. Than, memorising that this council with the previous Mayor voted 'FOR', to bury the powerlines, and now the same council voted 'against, rejecting a bonus of 200 Milj THB from the electric company ?? Are these councelors from Planet Earth? Well, it is a typical example of how everything is still not under command in Patong. It proves that Thailand really needs a NCPO.

Posted by Kurt on September 6, 2014 12:33

Editor Comment:

What Thailand needs, Kurt, are elected leaders who understand their responsibilities and obligations to the people.


You are right, mr Editor. For what you mention is needed,, education, and people who not behave 'influential' for their own benefits.

Posted by Kurt on September 6, 2014 13:02


The delay in burying these cables may be a blessing in disguise because to undertake this work without addressing the flooding issues may make the power supply reliability worse.
Underground conduits have be water tight or at least installed and maintained to minimise water egress. Transformers will need to be built on platforms above any expected flood level. Conductors have to be oversized as heat dissipation is less and conduits should be sized to allow future installation as load increases.

Disregarding the capital cost of the main network, each premise connected, will also have a cost to replace their existing aerial connection as it is a consumer responsibility to maintain the supply connection.

In addition, you then have to deal with all the telephone cables that are the majority of cables visible.

These must be installed in a separate conduit and shielded from the electro magnetic interference caused by the power cables.

Posted by Manowar on September 6, 2014 14:03


@Manowar.. thx to explain to everybodies why nowhere in the world the electric cables are buried. That's why also, in Karon maybe they got creazy made the beachfront free from any cable.. Come on, was't better before??

Posted by rich on September 6, 2014 20:57


Rich, I'm not sure whether your post aggression or disagrees.

Just to confirm, I didn't say that cables should not be buried. I raised the issue that the current delay may be of some benefit as rather than just undertake the work, hopefully someone may consider other issues that ultimately will have an effect on the reliability of these proposed works.

Karon and Patong are hardly comparable in both building density, setback of development from roads, the total demand on any service and flooding issues.

Of course, underground power distribution is visually better and if installed properly with consideration to local terrain and conditions, can provide benefits, the greatest being visual appearance.

On the negative side is the cost, the time and additional resources required to find faults, load limits on cable sizes and it's greatest enemy, moisture or flooding.

Most aerial high voltage feeders are uninsulated and are sufficiently separated on poles to avoid arcing. The higher the voltage, the more separation required. You will hear in places like Patong after rain, a buzzing sound caused by high resistance shorts to earth or from an active to neutral conductor. The fault is not large enough to trip the circuit nor cause a dead short.

Once cables are placed in conduits underground, if any insulation has either broken down, cracked or degraded, water can provide an immediate short circuit and trip the feeder supply. If it is too small to trip, it can start up a process of electrolysis, where dissimilar metals such as terminal connections, metal brackets, bolts or screws become sacrificial anodes.

Exposed conductors under flood conditions pose a greater risk of electrocution. Not many of us run an electrical extension lead through a swimming pool while we are swimming!

There are advantages and disadvantages to justify both and whether you consider the danger is more from what you can see or what you cannot see is a matter of opinion, based on what you see as having the most benefit.

Posted by Manowar on September 6, 2014 22:05


Red with interest comments of 'Manowar'.
However, yesterday a large part of Chalong was from 11:15AM until 06:05 PM(!) without electricity coz of exploding of a transformer near Wat Chalong during strong rain. Do you know that there are countries which are actual partly below sea level where all cables are underground and never problems occur? It is also well known, that more than 50% of the cables we see hanging along the roads are death. Do phuket authorities realize how much cupper capital is hanging unused in the air, just waiting for a profitable recycling action? Remove all this unused cables, recycle, make money! That must sound trilling , or not?

Posted by Kurt on September 8, 2014 09:09


To be a councillor of Patong Town is a function that ask a lot of education/knowledge/responsibilities. Also understanding that Patong is patong because of tourisme. Serve the tourist! It would be interesting to know which councillors were previously voting 'Yes' for electric cables underground beach road, and now, recently changed their mind and voted 'no', despite the present of 200 million thb of the electric company. Open up! Let the public know what you do to represent them, to improve things.! Do not block progess! Do not play political sabotage. people are not born yesterday.

Posted by Kurt on September 8, 2014 09:30


Kurt, yes there are even cables installed under harbours and rivers.

Exploding transformer, well, underground cables will not remove this failure as transformers will still be above ground.

Never problems occur? Never heard of such an installation. I have heard of systems where problems are less frequent and the reason is because they are designed, installed and maintained properly. Can you see this would be the situation in Patong?

Copper, really. I think you will find the main supply cables are aluminium, Copper wiring will be installed from the consumers mains connections.
There is a good reason why aluminium is used besides cost. Maybe you can enlighten us as to why?

Posted by Manowar on September 8, 2014 13:45

Saturday February 4, 2023
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


Facebook Twitter