Elderly man hit with 10,000 baht electricity bill in central Thailand

Elderly man hit with 10,000 baht electricity bill in central Thailand

An 88-year-old man from Kamphaeng Phet province in central Thailand couldn't believe his eyes when his last electricity bill was almost 10,000 baht. Family members and neighbors are challenging the bill on behalf of an old man who had to take out a loan this month to pay for electricity.


Grandpa's bill from the Metropolitan Electricity Authority stated that his family of three used 1,976 units of electricity in July, totaling 9,177 baht. His family contacted MEA to confirm the account was correct and they said it was. Usually only 158 to 200 units are used in a house.

The elderly man lives with his niece, Plenpit Lee, 57, and her son. Plernpit said she makes a living selling milk and her income is unstable, earning about 300 baht a day. Plernpit said the household is dependent on grandpa's pension to pay for electricity, but the bill was too high for the pensioner to pay this month.

Grandpa asked if he could pay the bill in installments within five months, but the MEA refused. The MEA said that if the grandfather wanted to pay in installments, he would have to pay the bill within three months.

Plernpit said Grandpa still can't afford it, but he's afraid the power will go out if he doesn't pay, so he took out an "unofficial" loan to meet the MEA's requirements. The family is in big trouble right now, Plernpit said.

An MEA representative went to the grandfather's house to investigate the extortion account. The IEA found no fault with the electricity meter itself, but expects the bill to skyrocket due to power leaks.

The roof of the house is made of steel, and the wires on the roof are exposed in various places, which can lead to electricity leakage, said Sanae Wontip, an IEA officer in Kamphaeng province.

A technician will visit the house to fix the leaks, so hopefully the bill won't be that high again. But MEA said that this time the grandfather still has to pay 9,177 baht.

The price of electricity in Thailand is steadily rising and is becoming unaffordable even for those who do not have electricity leaks. According to the Energy Regulatory Commission, by September, the cost of electricity in Thailand may rise to 5 baht per unit for the first time.

The surge in electricity bills is due to rising prices for imported gas used to generate electricity, which is out of Thailand's control. With the Erawan gas field in the Gulf of Thailand taken over by a new concessionaire, much of Thailand's natural gas reserves are being exported, forcing Thailand to import expensive gas instead of using its resources.

One man in northern Thailand is not worried because he has a secret 44 baht electricity bill even when the air conditioner is on 24 hours a day.