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EGAT confirmed that their Term of Reference or TOR for the Mae Moh Power Plant Units 4-7 Replacement Project met the international standard to open for every contractor around the world. The estimated construction cost was increased with the aim to improve the production efficiency and the pollution control system.  However, though the electricity tariff would not be affected, if the project was delayed, the electricity price and the stability of the power system might get the impact.

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EGAT's bid of Mae Moh Power Plant Units 4-7 Replacement Project was criticized by the media that the bid was higher than normal and EGAT's TOR seemed to serve any particular group.  In this regard, Mr. Ratanachai Namwong, EGAT Deputy Governor – Power Plant Development explained that this project was won by the joint-venture: ALSTOM Power System SA, ALSTOM (Thailand) Ltd. and Marubeni Corporation (Alstom/Marubeni) at the bid of 38,000 million baht.  The bid price was later negotiated and agreed at the cost of 35,312 million baht which was still lower than the total amount approved by the NCPO.

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The Deputy Governor denied such comment and confirmed that the TOR of Mae Moh Power Plant Units 4-7 Replacement Project had met the international standard like the ones in Japan, Germany, and U.S.A to draw attention from bidders all around the world. Regarding the doubt on eligibility of the bidders stated in the TOR, Mr. Ratanachai said that EGAT wanted to make sure that all the bidders had potential to complete the project efficiently because it was so vital to the system capacity that there should be no delay in the process.  The eligibility stated in the TOR was that the bidders needed the experience in the main equipment design and manufacturing such as steam generator, steam turbine, and generator.  Five or more equipments needed to operate overseas, not in their own countries, each for not less than three years of commercial operation.

For the construction cost, the Deputy Governor revealed that the coal from Mae Moh Mine to be used as the fuel for this project was lignite which was the lowest quality type of coal. The lignite at Mae Moh Mine had 3% of sulfur and 40% of calcium oxide. Therefore, the main equipment needed to be designed specially for the power capacity that EGAT required. Moreover, the equipment to control the pollutant released from the power plant and the boiler needed to be designed with higher efficiency, which led to the higher construction cost than expected. “EGAT’s pollution control was regulated to be better than the standard of Pollution Control Department for the optimum efficiency of the power production with the least impact on the community and environment. This responds to the requirement of the community on pollution control, contributing to the higher construction cost than expected, but it is still under the budget the National Council for Peace and Order has approved. As a result, it will not affect the electricity price.”

The Mae Moh Power Plant Units 4-7 Replacement Project was in the process of Environmental Health Impact Assessment by National Environmental Board before submitted to the Cabinet for construction approval. The commercial operation date was expected in the year 2018. If EGAT cancelled the bid and restarted the process again, two more years were needed, which would require EGAT to raise the construction cost again, contributing to the impact on electricity bill and the security of power system of the country because the existing and old Mah Moh Units 4-7 were needed to run on. This led to the risk on the whole country’s power system in the future.