Thailand's Piyasvasti steps down as NEPO chief

Thailand's widely regarded head of the National Energy Policy Office, Piyasvasti Amranand, will step down Thursday, having completed his term after serving 6 years in office. In the aftermath, Energy Minister Savit Bhodivihok is seeking to dispel concerns that Piyasvasti's departure will leave a vacuum in the implementation of the country's key energy policy directives.


BANGKOK�Piyasvasti Amranand has completed his term as secretary general of the National Energy Policy Office and will step down Thursday under a cabinet resolution adopted Tuesday. Perhaps Thailand's most respected energy regulator and planner, Piyasvasti is completing 6 years as NEPO chief and will become inspector general of the office of the Permanent Secretary, a post widely regarded as inconsequential.

In the aftermath, Energy Minister Savit Bhodivihok is seeking to dispel concerns that Piyasvasti's departure will leave a vacuum in the implementation of the country's key energy policy directives. He said Piyasvasti will be retained to oversee formulation of the kingdom's electricity market reforms and reform of the natural gas supply industry this October. Key policies on liberalization of the gas and power markets and the establishment of a power pool are expected to be ready by then, Savit said.

There have been calls to renew Piyasvasti's term as NEPO secretary general to ensure implementation of these energy policies, many of which face strong resistance. But he has served the maximum possible term under civil service rules.

The economist has been a key player in achieving several important energy policy reforms while creating many foes who resisted his liberalization efforts. Among the reform policies he championed are the deregulation of the kingdom's oil market; privatization of Electricity Generating PLC, Bangchak Petroleum PLC, and the Ratchaburi power plant; creation of a power pool; establishment of an energy conservation program; and restructuring of power tariffs.

Metta Banturngsuk, currently deputy secretary general, will serve as acting NEPO chief.

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