History of the Thai Electricity

From 1884 – 1968
From 1969 -1991
From 1992 – Present

From 1884 – 1968

Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall

1884 Availability of electricity in Thailand

The electric lamp was lighted for the first time in Thailand at Chakri Throne Hall in the Grand Palace in the celebrations of Birthday Anniversary of King Chulalongkorn on September 20, 1884.

1898 Founding of “Siam Electricity Co., Ltd.”

The Siam Electricity Co., Ltd. of which the business was transferred from Bangkok Electric Light Syndicate on December 27, 1898 was founded as the first private electricity company in Thailand. After the founding of the company, Wat Liab Power Plant was constructed.

1914 Founding ofthe “Royal Samsen Electricity Division” for electricity supply in Bangkok and Thonburi

In the reign of King Rama VI, in 1912, Chao Phraya Yommarat (Pan Sukhum) was assigned to build the Waterworks and Samsen Power Plant at the same time. The construction of Samsen Power Plant was completed and had been able to supply electricity in 1914. The power plant was a state enterprise known as “Royal Samsen Electricity Authority.”

Later on, it was put under the Ministry of Interior and the name was changed to be “Royal Samsen Electricity Division.” Since then, the electricity activity has become firm and electricity had become widely available to the inhabitants of Bangkok and Thonburi. Siam Electricity Co., Ltd. (Wat Liab Power Plant) was responsible for electricity supply to the southern area of Bang Lamphu Canal and Bangkok Noi Canal whereas the Royal Samsen Electricity Division was responsible for electricity distribution to the northern area of the canals.

1929 Founding of “Electricity Section” in Ministry of Interior

In 1929, the electricity activity in provinces has started in the Sanitation Districts of Ratchaburi and Nakon Pathom Provinces. After the change of government from absolute monarchy to constitutional in 1932, the electricity activity had expanded to other Sanitation District, such as Sanitation Districts of Prachin Buri, Phuket, Nakon Nayok, Cholburi, Ban Pong, Chantaburi, and Chiang Mai.

After the reengineering of ministries and departments, the Civil Municipality Department was set up and the Electricity Section was upgraded to be Electricity Division under the Civil and Municipality Department.

1945 Damage of Wat Liab Power Plant and Samsen Power Plant

In 1939, World War II broke out in Europe. In Thailand, it was in the reign of King Rama IIX. On June 24, 1939, the name of the country was changed from ‘Siam” to “Thailand.” Consequently, the name of the electricity company “Siam Electricity Co., Ltd.” was changed to be “Thai Electricity Corporation Limited.”

In April, 1945, Wat Liab Power Plant and Samsen Power Plant were heavily bombed by the planes of the Allies to the useless condition, resulting in the darkness over Bangkok and Thonburi. People had no electricity and water for consumption. Later, Wat Liab Power Plant which was in a comparatively better condition was restored by the Thai Electricity Corporation Ltd. The restoration took around 2 months. For Samsen Power Plant which was in serious condition, the restoration took 4 years before it could start the operation again in June 1949.

Wat Liap Power Plant

1950 Founding of “Bangkok Electricity Authority”

In 1950, “Bangkok Electricity Authority” was founded to accept the business transfer of the “Thai Electricity Corporation Limited” of which the concession had ended.

In 1951, the “Committee on countrywide power plant construction” was set up. Later on, in 1952, its name was changed to be “Committee on electricity and energy of Thailand.”

In 1953, the Committee was restructured into the “Office of the National Energy.” Presently, it has the status of the “Energy Policy and Planning Office” under Ministry of Energy.

1953 Construction of a large-scale hydropower plant in Sam Ngao District, Tak Province

A large-scale hydropower plant was built by “Yanhee Electricity Authority” in Sam Ngao District, Tak Province, taking 7 years for the construction. The dam at the power plant was originally known as “Yanhee Dam.” The transmission lines connected the hydropower plant with various provinces in the Northern region, including Lampang, Lamphun, and Chiang Mai to supply electricity. With the royal permission, the name of the dam was changed to be “Bhumibol Dam.” On May 17, 1964, Their Majesties King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit performed the opening ceremony of the dam and the power plant.

1954 Founding of “Lignite Electricity Authority”

“Lignite Electricity Organization” was established in 1954 and was transformed to become “Lignite Authority” in 1960 to be responsible for electricity generation and transmission in the South.

“Provincial Electricity Organization” was also established in 1954 and was upgraded to be “Provincial Electricity Authority” in 1960 to be responsible for electricity generation and sale in Thailand except for the metropolitan area.

1957 Founding of “Yanhee Electricity Authority”

“Yanhee Electricity Authority” was responsible for electricity generation for supplying to the Northern and the Central regions by constructing Bhumibol Hydropower Plant in Tak Province. Moreover, Yanhee Electricity Authority built the other 75 MW thermal power plant (steam power plant) in Bang Kruai District, Nonthaburi Province which was known as “North Bangkok Power Plant.” It was the largest power plant of the time. The power plant started to operate in March 1961 by supplying electricity via the high voltage transmission lines to Samsen Power Plant.

On August 1, 1958, the “Metropolitan Electricity Authority” was founded by merging “Bangkok Electricity Authority” and “Royal Samsen Electricity Division” to be responsible for electricity sale in the Bangkok metropolitan (Bangkok and Thonburi), Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan.

1959 Installation of the first 69 kV high voltage transmission lines in Thailand

Mae Moh Power Plant in Lampang Province was built by the Lignite Electricity Authority having 2 units with the capacity of 6.25 MW using lignite from Mae Moh mine as fuel. The power plant was connected with Lampang Province by the 69 kV high voltage transmission line which can be regarded to be the first high voltage transmission lines in Thailand. As a result, the electricity system in Lampang was stabilized. Moreover, additional high voltage transmission lines were installed from the power plant to Tak Province for the construction of Bhumibol Dam and also from Lampang to Lamphun and Chiang Mai Provinces.

Yanhee Electricity Authority

1961 Opening of “North Bangkok Power Plant”

The construction and operation of North Bangkok Power Plant would help to cease the power shortage in Bangkok and Thonburi. On May 17, 1961, the power plant was opened by the Thai Prime Minister Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat and the US President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Due to the rapidly rising demand for electricity, the 2nd unit of North Bangkok Power Plant was built by Yanhee Electricity Authority at the beginning of 1962 which was completed and was able to supply electricity in mid 1963.

1962 Founding of “Northeastern Electricity Authority” by the government

The “Northeastern Electricity Authority” was founded by the government to be responsible for electricity generation for use in the Northeastern part of Thailand. The first phase dealt with the construction of Ubol Ratana Dam in Khon Kaen Province and Nam Phung Dam in Sakon Nakhon Province.

1964 Opening of lignite mine in Krabi Province by Lignite Authority and construction of Krabi Power Plant

Lignite mine was opened in Krabi Province by the Lignite Authority. The Lignite Power Plant with the total capacity of 60 MW was also built using lignite as fuel. The power plant could start its operation in 1964 and supplied electricity to 7 provinces through high voltage transmission lines from the power plant.

At present, the power system of Krabi Power Plant has been modified to be applicable to use palm oil together with fuel oil in response to the government policy in valorization of palm oil at the government’s request. Since September 30, 1995, Krabi Power Plant has strengthened security to the power system and has the status of “reserved shutdown.”

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