May 8, 2023
BANGKOK – For city dwellers, just 30 minutes of power outage can feel like the end of the world. Yet, there are some 300 people in a remote corner of Nakhon Ratchasima who have been living without electricity since their village was formed 70 years ago.
It is Ban Sub Hin Kaew or Moo 16 village in Tambon Chanthuek of Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Chong district.
Village head Somnuek Jaklang, 48, said the village has some 86 households and though they have been struggling without power for 70 years now, not a single state agency has stepped in to help.
Most children spend their evenings studying or reading with light provided by kerosene lamps. Clearly, television or even refrigerators are luxuries that most families cannot afford.
Somnuek said the village has one solar cell panel that generates enough electricity to pump water for the residents.
Some families were able to invest 30,000 to 60,000 baht to install rooftop solar panels, that generate enough electricity to power two electric fans and one small TV set.
These “lucky” families can also use their electric rice cooker when the sun is bright enough for the panels to generate enough power.
The village temple, meanwhile, usually rents a generator to provide light for special ceremonies like funerals or ordinations.
The village head said the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) had refused to provide electricity to the village because its location lies in areas covered by the Royal Thai Army’s Animal Army Department and Quartermaster Department.
This would require PEA to go through complicated procedures to receive permission from the two Army departments before it can erect power poles leading to the village.
This issue was noticed by Wirat Warisorlangkarn, Palang Pracharath Party candidate for Nakhon Ratchasima’s Constituency 4. He said he would try to solve the problem as villagers are completely isolated from the rest of the world as they have no access to television or news.
He said the main problem was the lack of coordination among government agencies concerned.
“But I believe the villagers will have electricity soon,” he added.