The adjustment will see the fuel adjustment tariff (FT) rise by 30 satang a unit, raising the price per unit of electricity for households by 8.6 per cent, from the current B3.50 to B3.80.
For households, electricity rates are set to rise to B2.57 a unit from B2.27 now.
Rates for higher usage will also rise. For example, rates for use of 100 to 150 units a month will go up to B3.53 a unit, 151 to 400 units will cost B4.04, and over 401 units will cost B4.24.
The chairman of the Energy Regulatory Commission, Direk Lawansiri, announced the rises after the commission met to discuss the FT rate for the next billing period, from May to August.
He said that in order to fully cover rising fuel costs, the FT charge should actually increase by 57.45 satang.
However, the commission had asked EGAT to swallow 19.05 satang of the cost increase per unit. The remaining 8.4 satang of the difference would be covered by capital remaining from the investment budgets of the state electricity utilities during 2008 and 2010.
EGAT has already absorbed as much as B10 billion in costs by freezing the FT following the floods in Bangkok and central Thailand, in order not to put extra pressure on companies already suffering from the disaster.
Mr Direk also called on the public to help save energy, as the country currently needs to import a greater amount of fuel from abroad for power generation. With the hottest months of the year coming up, energy imports are expected to rise even further.
Members of the public are invited to share their opinion on the issue at the commission’s website, www.erc.or.th, up until May 4, when the new FT rate will most likely come into effect.
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) made its opinion clear even before the commission met, arguing that a sharp increase may result in a large number of manufacturers raising prices.
FTI chairman Payungsak Chartsuthipol said a hefty increase in the FT would particularly affect manufacturers in the seven pilot provinces, including Phuket, who have just been hit by the April 1 rise in the minimum day wage to B300, and are also facing price increases for raw materials.
Rising fuel and electricity costs have also seen a rise in demand for energy-saving products, said Twarath Sutabutr, the deputy director-general of the Renewable Energy and Conservation Energy Department (RECED).
He predicted that the upward spiral in oil prices should increase the ratio of renewable energy usage to non-renewable from 8.5 per cent last year to 10 per cent this year.
RECED, in partnership with the Thai Environment Institute and the Thailand Business Council for Sustainable Development, have organised an energy-saving campaign in the private sector.