แIn the past, the management of Thailand’s energy sector was under the National Energy Policy Council Act, B.E. 2535 (1992), whereby the National Energy Policy Council (NEPC) was empowered to set the national energy policy and the national energy management and development plan as well as to monitor and supervise energy-related operations, causing the lack of efficiency with regard to performance evaluation, protection of consumers and those affected from energy industry operations. Therefore, the Energy Industry Act, B.E. 2550 (2007) (“the Act”) was enacted, effective since 11 December 2007, with a view to restructuring the energy industry management by distinctly separating the functions of policy-making, regulation and operation from one another in order to achieve efficient, secure, adequate and extensive energy service provision with reasonable prices and up-to-standard quality to meet the demand and contribute to sustainable development of the country in terms of social, economic and environmental aspects. The Act also aims to promote competition and enhance greater participation and roles of the private sector, communities as well as the general public in the energy industry.
Under the Act, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of Thailand is established, comprising one Chairman and six other Commissioners graciously appointed by His Majesty the King, to regulate energy industry operation, which means the electricity industry, the natural gas industry and the energy network industry, to ensure compliance with the objectives of the Act, under the policy framework of the government. The Office of the Energy Regulatory Commission (OERC) is also established under the Act as a state agency to function as the Secretariat to support the work of the ERC. The first set of ERC was graciously appointed by His Majesty the King on 1 February 2008.
Consequently, after the establishment of the ERC, the government, via the NEPC, has the authority and duties to determine policies on energy industry management while the ERC has the authority and duties to regulate energy industry operations in compliance with the policy framework of the government. The ERC is empowered to issue regulations, rules, announcements or criteria, procedures and conditions in order to regulate various issues in the energy industry as prescribed by law, e.g. license granting for energy industry operation; regulation of tariff setting; establishment of energy service provision standards and safety standards of energy industry operations; protection of energy consumers’ rights, including protection of energy industry operators by ensuring fair competition; utilization of immovable property for the benefit of exploration or survey of a location for construction of an energy network system; and dispute settlement. In executing its duties, the ERC will give importance to and promote participation and roles of energy consumers, the general public and those affected by energy industry operations in the national energy management and development. In this connection, prior to issuing any ERC regulations, rules and announcements which will affect persons, groups of persons or licensees, a hearing process shall be arranged. In addition, the ERC is tasked with promotion of renewable energy and efficient use of energy. Furthermore, the ERC also provides support and implements urgent tasks pursuant to the policy framework of the government so as to enhance energy security of the country.